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 Basics About the UN Public-Private Alliance for Rural Development


One theme in the deliberations at the 2003 High-Level Segment of the Economic and Social Council was the importance of creating alliances and partnerships in designing and implementing interventions for poverty eradication and sustainable development in rural areas. A key recommendation was to support or create, at national and international levels, alliances of governments, donors, NGOs, civil society organizations, and the private sector. (ECOSOC Document A/58/3, Chapter III) Establishment of a United Nations Public-Private Alliance for Rural Development is one step toward achieving this.

Accelerated rural development is essential to reducing poverty and promoting better standards of life for much of the world’s population. The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) cannot be achieved unless rural poverty is urgently reduced. National and international businesses can have a powerful influence toward helping to achieve these improvements. Pro-poor policies and practices by business and other stakeholders can help to promote economic and social well-being and at the same time generate profitable returns on investment.
Helping to harness these potential benefits is the motivating principle of this new effort. It focuses on win-win situations, working to harmonize the economic and profit motives of the private sector with internationally-agreed development goals. The UN Alliance serves as a new step, highlighting and promoting replication of successful business undertakings that benefit all concerned, and bringing these to the attention of the international community through ECOSOC.

The UN Alliance networks with and builds upon a range of existing programmes and concerns. These include efforts by FAO, the World Bank, UNDP, IFAD, UNCTAD, ILO, the UN Global Compact, and the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs. Outside the UN, a number of business associations are relevant, including the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, the International Chamber of Commerce, the Business Council for the United Nations, Rotary clubs, and the World Agriculture Forum.

The UN Alliance is intended to bring added value to the work of ECOSOC and the United Nations in several ways. It is a concrete deliverable resulting from ECOSOC and its Ministerial Declaration. It serves as a means for direct impact from the work of the Council upon actual development situations, in other words, “Policies into Practice.” It is a new vehicle for conduct of the multiple roles of the Council – encouraging economic and social advancement; promoting collaboration and cooperation; and reviewing the results of such efforts by the international community. It is the third in a series of steps taken in recent years for greater participation by a wide range of stakeholders in the concerns of ECOSOC, following upon the UN Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Task Force (2000), and the Advisory Group on African Countries Emerging from Conflict (2002).

In December 2003 the UN General Assembly adopted the resolution “Towards Global Partnerships,” (GA Resolution 58/129) which welcomed the establishment of partnerships at field level such as the UN Public-Private Alliance for Rural Development.

Madagascar is the first country chosen for a focus of UN Alliance efforts, and the Ambassador/Permanent Representative to the UN is taking the lead. Madagascar is on the list of least-developed countries and is seeking to improve its position through active cooperation with the international community and with a strong emphasis on business opportunities.

In July 2004 ECOSOC passed a resolution that welcomed the Madagascar initiative, adopted a resolution on the UN Alliance, and invited Member States, UN agencies, private sector and NGOs to support the UN Alliance.

Since then, several countries have expressed interest in joining the UN Alliance as pilot countries.   Plans are underway to strengthen the network. 

Copyright 2004 © United Nations Public-Private Alliance for Rural Development