What is the UN?

The United Nations system is a web of different specialised agencies, including the ILO, as well as various funds and programmes, all with their own membership, leadership and budget. Yet the essence of the UN is its 193 Member States, represented in the General Assembly, the main deliberative, policymaking and representative organ of the UN.

The UN Secretariat, with headquarters in New York, carries out the day-to-day work of the UN as mandated by the General Assembly and is an important partner on topics related to, among others, sustainable development, migration and partnerships.

Why is the UN relevant for business?

The UN develops international standards, policies and rules, for instance on human rights and migration, which shape the environment for business at national and international level when implemented by governments.

How is the IOE involved with the UN?

Since 1947, the IOE has had a formal consultative status within the UN. The IOE attends several General Assembly conferences, including the annual general debates attended by the heads of state and government.

How does the IOE’s work with the UN advance the agenda for business?

While retaining the intergovernmental nature of the discussions, the UN and its Member States increasingly recognise the importance of consulting non-State actors when discussing frameworks for sustainable development. For instance, the IOE actively engages in the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, which follows up on progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The IOE also actively contributes to the process for a Global Compact for safe, orderly and regular Migration (GCM) by providing input and expertise to the governments.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has launched a major reform process to ensure the organisation is fit for purpose going forward. The IOE will engage in that process to ensure that the UN partners with representative voices of business, as the expertise and experience of the private sector will continue to be called upon.

Since 2006, the IOE Secretary-General has been a permanent member of the Board of the Global Compact, a UN office which aims to mobilise a global movement of sustainable companies and stakeholders towards 10 principles of sustainable development.