UN General Assembly Grants Observer Status to International Chamber of Commerce in Historic Decision

  • United Nations General Assembly adopts resolution granting Observer Status to world’s largest business association
  • New role for the International Chamber of Commerce first time business given official role in General Assembly in the 71-year history of the UN
  • Landmark move will enhance business engagement on global governance issues—including implementation of the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

UN_General_Assembly_hallNew York, N.Y., December 13, 2016 – In an unprecedented move, the United Nations General Assembly has today granted Observer Status to the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) – the world’s largest business organization representing more than six million members in over 100 countries, according to the United States Council for International Business (USCIB), ICC’s American national committee.

The decision – taken by 193 members of the UN General Assembly during its on-going 71st session in New York – is the first time that a business organization has been admitted as an Observer at the UN General Assembly. The list of UN observers is highly restricted and features principally intergovernmental organizations.

The new role for ICC means that business will for the first time have direct voice in the UN system. The decision paves the way for ICC to contribute directly to the work of the General Assembly and reflects the vital role the private sector will play in implementing the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

ICC Chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal said: “This is huge recognition of the role that business can play in contributing to a better and peaceful world. There is only one route to meeting the many challenges that face our society – from climate change to mass migration – and that is for governments and civil society to work hand-in-hand with the private sector.

“Granting Observer Status to ICC sends a powerful signal that the UN recognizes business as a vital partner. We stand ready to ensure that the private sector plays a full role in meeting the ambition of the 2030 agenda.”

The resolution to grant observer status to ICC was submitted by France – ICC’s host country – and was supported by 22 other Member States. ICC already works with a wide array of UN specialized agencies and organizations around the world providing business input and expertise on issues from commercial standards through to climate change. ICC was designated as the official business representative in the processes that lead to the creation of the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development – a key factor in the General Assembly’s decision.

ICC Secretary General John Danilovich said: “It’s a great honor for ICC to be granted Observer Status at the UN General Assembly. ICC has a long tradition of close cooperation with the United Nations and today’s decision reflects our sustained efforts to strengthen the relationship between the UN and the private sector.

“Given the complexity of today’s global challenges, it’s vital that business has a clear voice in UN decision making. We look forward to using this unique platform to deploy fully the resources, expertise and knowledge of world business in the work of the General Assembly.”

Danilovich also gave an interview on CNBC regarding ICC’s new status. Click here to watch.

USCIB President and CEO Peter M. Robinson added: “We have strongly supported this effort since its inception and are delighted at the elevation of ICC’s status within the United Nations. This reinforces the unparalleled network USCIB has built to convey U.S. business views to governments and international policy makers. It is part and parcel of our efforts to work more closely with the UN and other intergovernmental bodies in pursuit of shared goals.”

Following today’s UN General Assembly resolution, ICC will take up its position as observer to the General Assembly on January 1, 2017.

About ICC:
The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) is the world’s largest business organization with a network of over 6.5 million members in more than 130 countries. We work to promote international trade, responsible business conduct and a global approach to regulation through a unique mix of advocacy and standard setting activities—together with market-leading dispute resolution services. Our members include many of the world’s largest companies, SMEs, business associations and local chambers of commerce. Learn more at www.iccwbo.org.

About USCIB:
The United States Council for International Business (USCIB) promotes open markets, competitiveness and innovation, sustainable development and corporate responsibility, supported by international engagement and regulatory coherence. Its members include U.S.-based global companies and professional services firms from every sector of our economy, with operations in every region of the world. With a unique global network encompassing leading international business organizations, including ICC, USCIB provides business views to policy makers and regulatory authorities worldwide, and works to facilitate international trade and investment. More at www.uscib.org.

Contacts:
Andrew Wilson, ICC
Tel:  +33 6 70 49 68 74
andrew.wilson@iccwbo.org

Jonathan Huneke, USCIB
Tel: +1 212 703 5043
jhuneke@uscib.org

Staff Contact:   Jonathan Huneke

VP, Communications and Public Affairs
Tel: 212.703.5043

Jonathan Huneke is responsible for USCIB’s strategic communications, including media relations, publications, online content and high-level public events. He also manages the work of USCIB’s Marketing and Advertising Committee.
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