UN publishes good practice guidance on lobbying

The UN Global Compact has issued a report describing universal standards for lobbying. Called 'Towards Responsible Lobbying' it sets out a 'six-step health check'.

The report says bodies should 'lobby in line with (their) strategy and values', 'lobby on important issues affecting the organisation and stakeholders', are 'open and responsive to stakeholders', 'transparent about lobbying positions and practices', 'know who is lobbying on (their) behalf' and 'do in practice what is effective and in line with policies'.

The report emphasises lobbying's role in 'fighting poverty, conflict and AIDS'. It also stresses that firms' lobbying efforts should not conflict with their CSR policies. It was compiled with think-tank Accountability from interviews with businesses, NGOs and PA consultants in North America, Europe, India and Brazil.

Citigate Public Affairs chairman Warwick Smith said: '(The report) is inconsistent in arguing that regulation of lobbying is unnecessary and inappropriate, but that there "is the feeling that those who pay the piper, call the tune".'

But he added: 'It is perhaps the first serious attempt to view the issues of ensuring responsible lobbying in the context of corporate governance of the purchasers of lobbying services.'

Edelman Europe vice- chairman Michael Burrell said: 'It's a shame the report displays a consistent bias against business lobbying in favour of NGO lobbying.'

- For more information go to www.prweek.com.

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