Modal close

Dear Democracy Now! visitor,

You turn to Democracy Now! for ad-free news you can trust. Maybe you come for our daily headlines. Maybe you come for in-depth stories that expose corporate and government abuses of power. Democracy Now! brings you crucial reporting like our coverage from the front lines of the standoff at Standing Rock or news about the movements fighting for peace, racial and economic justice, immigrant rights and LGBTQ equality. We produce our daily news hour at a fraction of the budget of a commercial news operation—all without ads, government funding or corporate sponsorship. How is this possible? Only with your support. Right now, a generous funder will match your donation dollar for dollar. That means when you give $10 to Democracy Now!, we'll receive $20. So, if you've been waiting to make your contribution to Democracy Now!, today is your day. It takes just a couple of minutes to make sure that Democracy Now! is there for you and everybody else in 2017.

Non-commercial news needs your support.

We rely on contributions from you, our viewers and listeners to do our work. If you visit us daily or weekly or even just once a month, now is a great time to make your monthly contribution.

Please do your part today.


Corporate Sponsorship at the United Nations

StoryMarch 16, 1999
Watch iconWatch Full Show

On January 31, U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan called on business leaders to join in "a global compact of shared values and principles" with the U.N. Sixteen corporations have joined the U.N. Development Programme (or UNDP) to form the Global Sustainable Development Facility. According to a UNDP press release, the purpose of this initiative is to "fund investment projects to help poor countries meet social, environmental and human development needs." Each of the participating companies is paying $50,000 to the UNDP, and other corporations have plans to sponsor the project as well.

Critics of the project are concerned that the U.N. initiative has little to do with alleviating global poverty. Corporate watchdog groups say that many of the companies participating in the UNDP project have a poor track record on human rights, labor and the environment. Further, critics believe that sponsorship would give corporations unprecedented access to contacts within U.N. and government circles. Recently, Corporate Watch released a report that cites financial troubles at the U.N. and the U.S. failure to pay $1.6 billion in back dues as a pretext for soliciting the business community.

In a letter to UNDP Administrator Gus Speth, NGO’s from around the world called on the U.N. to discontinue the Global Sustainable Development Facility. The coalition of organizations believes that the independence of the U.N. is at stake.

Democracy NOW! asked representatives from the UNDP, BP Amoco, Royal Dutch Shell, Dow Chemical, ESKOM and Novartis to participate in the discussion, but they declined our offer.


  • John Cavanagh, Director of the Institute for Policy Studies, a Washington, D.C. based think-tank.
  • Kenny Bruno, Research Associate at the Transnational Resource and Action Center, and author of "Greenwash: The Reality Behind Corporate Environmentalism."
  • Professor Upendra Baxi, former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Delhi and a visiting professor of law at New York University.

The original content of this program is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Please attribute legal copies of this work to Some of the work(s) that this program incorporates, however, may be separately licensed. For further information or additional permissions, contact us.

Non-commercial news needs your support

We rely on contributions from our viewers and listeners to do our work.
Please do your part today.

Make a donation