Pillars in Practice Project: Nicaragua

Interview with uniRSE on their experience working as a project partner

Genaro Garcia is the Program and Projects Officer at uniRSE, an implementation partner in SAI and the Danish Institute for Human Rights' "Pillars in Practice (PIP) Project." The project is centered on the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. In October, the Project conducted a set of two multi-stakeholder training sessions in Managua, Nicaragua, following up on progress from two multi-stakeholder forums held in Spring 2013.


SAI's Latin America representative and regional lead UN Guiding Principles trainer, Yolanda Brenes, interviewed Mr. Garcia, who reflected on the PIP trainings and more broadly the climate for human rights in Nicaragua.


Yolanda Brenes: Please tell me what kind of organization uniRSE is and what it is aims to accomplish?

Genaro Garcia: uniRSE stands for The Nicaragua Union for Corporate Social Responsibility, or in Spanish, Unión nicaragüense para la Responsabilidad Social Empresarial. We have been working since 2002 in Nicaragua on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). We cooperate at the national level with other organizations that are focused on CSR. At the international level uniRSE is the Nicaraguan chapter of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. We are the Nicaraguan chapter of the regional CSR association in Latin America, FORUM EMPRESA, and we are a founding member of the Central American CSR Network. The basic principles for uniRSE's work are facilitating compliance with human rights, the UN Global Compact and UN Millennium Development Goals. 


Yolanda Brenes: What is uniRSE's relationship to human rights?

Genaro Garcia:uniRSE's main objective is the spread of knowledge and understanding of CSR and its business case in Nicaraguan business and society. CSR may be understood in this way as an instrument to improve the competitiveness and productivity of businesses, which goes further than philanthropic actions and simple legal compliance. CSR is a tripartite model that begins with one business but requires cooperation with others businesses, government bodies and civil society organizations. Good application of CSR brings a better understanding of balanced socioeconomic development and the defense and improvement of the environment. In sum, uniRSE attempts to accomplish its mission by seeking and stimulating the formation of alliances, such as public private partnerships. 


uniRSE has been working for over three years with eight UN agencies (ILO, UN Women, UNICEF, FAO, IOM, UNDP, UNIDO and WFP) and has allied with over 10 local organizations to guarantee human rights. In particular, we have focused on gender equality, education, eradication of child labor, protection of childhood, health, nutrition and food security and prevention of violence.


Last year, uniRSE signed on to the UN Global Compact and began an effort to create the local network for the Global Compact in Nicaragua, in which it will work to assure the adherence of business members to the Global Compact and integrate this model and principles into the management of CSR in micro, small and medium enterprises.


Yolanda Brenes: How has your experience been working with the PiP project? What do you envision as the most positive future impact of the project for uniRSE?

Genaro Garcia: The experience of sharing information and interacting with the representatives of business, government and civil society has been very valuable. It is an important set of principles and in our opinion, the future impact of this project is an increased opportunity to promote the UN Global Compact and the UN Guiding Principles as part of businesses policies and procedures related to human rights. 


'Like' the Pillars in Practice Program on Facebook: http://on.fb.me/1dF8xMN.  For more information, contact SAI Sr. Manager of Research & Stakeholder Relations Alex Katz-AKatz@sa-intl.org. 


The Spanish translation of this article can be accessed on our website


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