Strengthening CSR policies in Latin America and the Caribbean.

On 11 October 2013, the first European Union (EU)–Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) Seminar on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) took place in Brussels as a joint initiative of the European Commission External Action Service (EEAS) and CELAC. This high-level seminar was organized as a follow-up to the Declaration adopted by the European, Latin American and Caribbean Heads of State and Government who met during the 1st EU-CELAC Summit / 7th EU-LAC Summit Government in Santiago (Chile) on 26-27 January 2013 to address an Alliance for Sustainable Development to Promote Investments of Social and Environmental Quality.

32 Delegations from CELAC and EU member States participated in the Brussels seminar that gathered moreover experts of the private sector, Senior Officials from the European Commission and from relevant international organizations (ILO and OECD).

Ms Githa Roelans, Head of ILO Multinational Enterprises and Enterprise Engagement Unit presented ILO Tripartite Declaration of Principles concerning Multinational Enterprises and Social Policy (MNE Declaration), including new capacity building tools and policy support provided to the ILO constituents at the country-level. She also provided examples of how the principles of the Declaration and its underlying dialogue mechanism are being applied by governments and social partners in several ILO member States in CELAC in their engagement with multinational and national enterprises on national development and Decent Work priorities. This and other presentations given by experts at the CSR Seminar can be found here.

This seminar was part of the “dialogue and cooperation activities and initiatives” in the EU-CELAC 2013-2015 Action Plan section on investments and entrepreneurship for sustainable development that includes commitments to promote Decent Work inter alia through the promotion of sustainable enterprises, and to include internationally recognised principles on CSR in the definition of policies and national plans to promote good corporate behaviour. The EU renewed CSR strategy (2011-2014) also makes reference to internationally agreed standards and principles of CSR and invites all EU member States to develop or update national CSR plans with reference to internationally recognized CSR principles and guidelines and “all European-based multinational enterprises to make a commitment by 2014 to respect the ILO Tripartite Declaration of Principles Concerning Multinational Enterprises and Social Policy”.

Also with the aim of strengthening CSR policies in Latin America, UNCTAD hosted in September 2013 a GRULAC ambassadorial round table on CSR, co-organized with the Permanent Mission of Chile to the United Nations in Geneva. The roundtable provided participants with the opportunity to exchange views about national and regional experiences with CSR in Latin America to contribute to sustainable development and inclusive growth. Several Geneva-based UN agencies, including ILO, participated in the discussion. Ms Annie van Klaveren, Technical Officer in the ILO Multinational Enterprises and Enterprise Engagement Unit provided an overview of ILO MNE Declaration and its application in Latin American countries. The roundtable also focused on how to best engage Geneva-based UN institutions to technically assist with national and regional CSR initiatives.