The United Nations Economic and Social Council established the Intergovernmental Working Group of Experts on International Standards of Accounting and Reporting (ISAR) as a standing Group of Experts in 1982. During the past two decades ISAR has examined a number of issues and has contributed towards greater transparency and disclosure in the field of accounting. ISAR´s annual sessions have provided an inclusive forum where experts from developed and developing countries as well as countries with economies in transition can discuss timely issues and exchange experiences, in this area.
The topic of corporate governance was put on ISAR´s agenda after UNCTAD´s tenth quadrennial conference (in Bangkok in February 2000), where member States requested UNCTAD to promote, among other things, better corporate governance practices. The Group of Experts conducted a preliminary consideration of the topic at its eighteenth session in Geneva in September 2001. At that session ISAR reviewed existing corporate governance practices and country, regional and company codes and principles. The Group agreed to continue its consideration of the subject at its nineteenth session.
Immediately after the eighteenth session, on 13-14 September 2001, the UNCTAD secretariat organized a two-day workshop on corporate governance. Over 80 participants from all regions of the world participated. Several panels examined the issue of corporate governance from various perspectives, including those of national and regional policy makers, regulators, the investing community, members of boards of directors, and others.
The forum provided participants with opportunities to exchange experiences, identify best practices, and discuss ideas for further work on the issue by the ISAR Group. This publication is a collection of articles written by the panellists based on their presentations at the workshop. The first section presents selected issues in corporate governance, including competency and training for boards of directors. The second section includes articles on regional and country experiences in corporate governance.