unctad.org | Intergovernmental Working Group of Experts on International Standards of Accounting and Reporting, Twenty-first session
Intergovernmental Working Group of Experts on International Standards of Accounting and Reporting, Twenty-first session
27 - 29 October 2004
Geneva

Key Issues

During the last few years, corporate transparency and disclosure on issues of corporate governance and corporate responsibility have drawn significant interest from multiple stakeholders. The collapse of major corporations and their negative economic and social impact on various stakeholders have raised public awareness about the need for proper accountability and reporting in the corporate sector. The investing public has lost confidence in corporate governance systems and reporting practices. Legislators in different parts of the world have enacted laws with the view to restoring investor confidence and promoting better corporate transparency and disclosure.

Since its establishment in 1982 by the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations, the Intergovernmental Working Group of Experts on International Standards of Accounting and Reporting (ISAR) at UNCTAD has been actively addressing corporate transparency and disclosure issues. At its twentieth session last year, the Group of Experts reviewed case studies on corporate governance disclosures in selected countries and deliberated on major implementation issues in this area. It also deliberated on current trends in the disclosure of the impact of corporations on society. During its twenty-fist session, which will be taking place in Geneva from 27 to 29 October 2004, the Group of Experts will review the comparability and relevance of existing indicators on corporate social responsibility. It will also review the implementation status of corporate governance disclosures and the role of such disclosures in adding sustainable value. The deliberations will benefit from the participation of experts from all regions of the world. This will allow an examination of the issues from truly global perspectives in a neutral forum.

In addition to the two main topics discussed above, the Group of Experts will also discuss various items under the "other business" segment of its agenda. There will be updates on follow-up work on issues discussed at previous sessions of the Group of Experts. Several international and regional organizations active in the areas of corporate governance and transparency will present updates on their respective activities.

Agenda

Notification

The twenty-first session of the Intergovernmental Working Group of Experts on International Standards of Accounting and Reporting (ISAR) is scheduled to be held from 27 to 29 October 2004, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, and will commence at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, 27 October 2004.

In accordance with the agreement reached by member States at the twentieth session of ISAR, the topics proposed for the main agenda items at the twenty-first session are "Review of the comparability and relevance of existing indicators on corporate social responsibility" and "Review of the implementation status of corporate governance disclosures and the role of such disclosures in adding sustainable value". The provisional agenda proposed for the twenty-first session, including the topics above, was approved by the eighth session of the Commission on Investment, Technology and Related Financial Issues. Accordingly, reviews have been conducted on both main agenda items, and during this session experts will deliberate on the findings the two reviews. The provisional agenda, together with the secretariat´s annotations thereto, will be circulated as document TD/B/COM.2/ISAR/23. Two reports summarizing the findings of the reviews have been prepared by the UNCTAD secretariat (TD/B/COM.2/ISAR/24 and 25).

Under "Other business", the secretariat or the Chairman of the twentieth session of ISAR may update the Group on two side events in the area of corporate accounting and reporting that were organized by the secretariat during UNCTAD XI, i.e. a high-level round table on corporate transparency and a workshop on the role of accountancy in economic development. The Group of Experts may also wish to review progress on the ISAR model curriculum.

Member States of UNCTAD are requested to submit to the UNCTAD secretariat by 30 September 2004, at the latest, the names of the experts who will participate in the session. It will be beneficial for member States to send experts who have the necessary background and responsibilities in the area of corporate social responsibility and corporate governance, particularly in transparency and disclosure aspects. Furthermore, in accordance with the outcome of the consultations on the review of the functioning of ISAR on 29 October 1999, the Trade and Development Board called for greater participation by experts from all member States of UNCTAD in the work of ISAR.

United Nations bodies and programmes, specialized agencies, and intergovernmental bodies, should they wish to participate in the session, as well as non-governmental organizations in the general category and those in the special category that wish to participate as observers, are requested to inform UNCTAD secretariat of the names of their representatives by the same date.

Upon arrival, participants are requested, before entering the Palais des Nations, to collect their badge at the UN Security Service, Villa Les Feuillantines, 13 Avenue de la Paix (close to the main entrance of the Palais on the Place des Nations, on the opposite side of the road). The security service is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (non-stop). It is advisable to arrive by 9 a.m. to complete procedures and reach the Meeting in good time. Walking from Villa Les Feullantines to the E-Building (Bâtiment E) of the Palais takes about 10 minutes. Participants are advised to carry a passport or similar identification document with them. Taxis are not allowed to enter the grounds of the Palais des Nations, and visitors will therefore be dropped off at the requested entrance gates. Furthermore, luggage may not be brought into the buildings unless the Security Service gives special clearance.

Communications concerning representation should be sent to the UNCTAD secretariat, Intergovernmental Support Service, Palais des Nations, CH-1211 Geneva 10; fax: + 41(0)22 917 0056; e-mail: correspondence@unctad.org. All other enquiries should be addressed to the Secretary of the meeting, tel: +41(0)22 917 17 49.

(signed)
Rubens Ricupero
Secretary-General of UNCTAD
13 September 2004


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