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UN Global Compact Hard Pressed to Raise Its Standards, But Deigns to Answer Questions

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis

UNITED NATIONS, November 1 -- As the UN Global Compact talked Thursday about human rights, its board members put their emphasis on the quantity of companies joining, and not the quality of these companies' commitment. Inner City Press asked the Compact's Mark Moody-Stuart if companies can be thrown out or suspended if they enable regimes which torture and violate rights. Moody-Stuart said that the focus is to bring companies up by inviting them to join. He added that there is a procedure to consider systemic abuses. "Has it ever been used?" asked Inner City Press. Moody-Stuart acknowledged that it hadn't. Video here.

            An NGO representative on the board, Habiba Al Marashi of the Emirates Environmental Group, also spoke of education companies. But when Inner City Press asked her if she thought some companies would have to be expelled, she said yet. Video here. She came back to describe a so-called no carbon city being constructed in Abu Dhabi. She said the UAE increasingly uses "alternative energy," an example of which she gave as natural gas.

Moody-Stuart and Mr. Ban, standards for expulsion not shown

            A real gas men, the CEO of Petrobras, also came to speak. Inner City Press asked him about biofuels, and their conflict with farming and food. He acknowledged this is a serious problem in Brazil, but claimed they are working on it. We'll see.

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Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

  Because a number of Inner City Press' UN sources go out of their way to express commitment to serving the poor, and while it should be unnecessary, Inner City Press is compelled to conclude this installment in a necessarily-ongoing series by saluting the stated goals of the UN agencies and many of their staff. Keep those cards, letters and emails coming, and phone calls too, we apologize for any phone tag, but please continue trying, and keep the information flowing.

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UN Office: S-453A, UN, NY 10017 USA Tel: 212-963-1439

Reporter's mobile (and weekends): 718-716-3540