Geneva 21 March: Flemish Minister-President Kris Peeters and UNITAR Executive Director Carlos Lopes signed an implementation agreement further to the decision taken by the Flemish Government last Friday to provide financial support over the period of 2011 to 2013 to the future UNITAR-affiliated International Training Center on Corporate Opportunities (ITCCO).
This agreement represents a milestone for the establishment of ITCCO, an Antwerp based center of excellence to engage global business communities in finding constructive, inclusive and innovative solutions to global challenges, and at the same time to adopt more responsible approach to management by designing and implementing social responsible policies and practices at corporate level in the Jewellery and Diamond sector.
With main focus on the Global Compact Principles and Corporate Social Responsibility issues the center will invite business communities to increase their contribution to the Millennium Development Goals, which constitute guiding principles for the Flemish foreign affairs policy. Following those principles, the center will contribute to push forward the transversal themes of the Flemish Government development cooperation policy: children’s rights, good governance, sustainable development, gender and HIV/AIDS.
Operated under the guidance of UNITAR and the World Jewelry Confederation (CIBJO), with the support from the City of Antwerp and together with the Antwerp World Diamond Center and HRD Antwerp the center will be launched on 23 May 2011.“The project will highlight Antwerp’s huge potential in the area, demonstrated by a strong commitment of a variety of local stakeholders. Historically, Antwerp has been and continues to be at the heart of the entire world diamond business and respective multinational industrial and commercial networks, due to its unequalled financial, technical and intellectual facilities in the area” said Minister-President Peeters. The Flemish minister of Work, Philippe Muyters, who was part of the delegation, declared: “The Flemish Service for Employment will be cofinancing ITCCO in order to provide training on diamond manufacturing”. “UNITAR will be delighted to use its established expertise in methodologies to promote a UN- certified CSR training to the business community. The future centre has received full support of the Global Compact” said Carlos Lopes. Both, the Flemish Minister-President and UNITAR Executive Director expressed that beyond the diamond and jewellery sector other industries could find future interest in using the centre as a platform for sharing and disseminating social responsibility practices. The Flemish authorities also passed, in 18 February, a new decree on the subsidization of internships aiming to facilitate the young professionals’ first on-hand experience with international organizations. Given UNITAR’s multiple areas of work, both sides were hopeful that the Institute would become host to Flemish trainees, thanks to the internship programme of the Flemish Government.