When Kofi Annan was elected the first African to head the United Nations in 1997, he faced an organisation that was dysfunctional, had a reputation for being anti-business, and it had little to contribute to the onward march of globalisation. To address these problems, Annan forged a strong alliance with the corporate sector, launching the Global Compact in 2000. This programme encouraged transnational corporations to adopt universal norms of behaviour that had been established through various UN treaties. This programme also allowed Annan to harness the private sector to support his Millennial Development Goals, which was launched the same year. Through it, targets were set to deal with a range of social problems, thereby providing a novel way of coordinating global action between governments, international agencies, nongovernmental organisations, and the corporate sector. By the end of his term, Annan had created a new pathway to global governance, built around norms and measureable targets. The result was greater cooperation between members of the world’s community to solve social and environmental problems. Annan was motivated to establish these alternative programmes to compensate for the entrenched dysfunction within the UN General Assembly.
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