International Chamber of Commerce family granted U.N. Observer Status

The International Chamber of Commerce (I.C.C.) has been officially granted Observer Status by the United Nations’ General Assembly. 

The Samoa Chamber of Commerce is a full I.C.C. member.

Samoa Chamber President Tuala Pat Leota said the Observer status is a step in the right direction.

“I applaud our worldwide family of Chambers in jointly lobbying our country leaders to attain this status. It’s been a long process and this is the power of a unified private sector under the Chamber of Commerce banner,” he said. 

The decision was taken by the 193 members of the U.N. General Assembly during its on-going 71st session in New York. 

This is an historic achievement for I.C.C. and one which provides a unique platform for the world business organisation to represent our members in the world’s greatest international forum. I.C.C. is the only private-sector organisation to have been granted Observer Status at the General Assembly in the history of the United Nations. The list of UN observers is highly restricted and features principally intergovernmental organisations.

I.C.C.’s new status could not have come at a more important time: not only does the United Nations 2030 Agenda place an unprecedented focus on the private sector to drive sustainable development; but we must also do more to counter growing populist and protectionist forces within the global economy. Obtaining Observer Status will—for the first time—provide a direct voice for business in the UN system to promote policies that foster sustainable & inclusive growth, job creation and economic cooperation.

“We are a unified worldwide family working together for the betterment of our countries. The World Chambers Congress will be held in Sydney Australia in September 2017 and I anticipate that one important matter of discussion will be determining a platform which the private sector through their Chambers of Commerce can utilise this great opportunity to accelerate the contribution of our private sectors to achieving sustainable and inclusive social and economic development goals that have been set by the U.N. and our respective Governments.”

Commenting on the decision, I.C.C. Chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal said: “This is huge recognition of the role that business can play in contributing to a better and peaceful world. Granting Observer Status to I.C.C. sends a powerful signal that the UN recognizes business as a vital partner. We stand ready to ensure that the private sector plays a full role in meeting the ambition of the 2030 agenda.” 

We look forward to working with you in the coming months to utilize this new platform to deepen our engagement with the United Nations on areas of critical importance such as trade, sustainable development, mass migration and the digital economy.


The 1st World Chambers Congress was held in Marseille, France, 30th September 1999. The event commemorated the 400th anniversary of the oldest chamber in the world, the Marseille-Provence Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The first ever World Chambers Congress marked a truly unprecedented event, with chambers from 91 countries attending. As globalization continued apace and further revolutionary developments in communications appeared at a giddying rate, this first Congress provided a unique opportunity for chambers worldwide to discuss about their future together. 

Samoa Chamber, Fiji Chamber & Solomon Islands Chamber had the only representation from the Pacific Islands, joining New Zealand and Australia at the Congress. The Vice President, Va’atu’itu’i Apete Meredith of the Samoa Chamber of Commerce & Industry Inc was the Samoa delegate. He can be seen above with Claude Cardelle, the President of Marseille-Provence Chamber of Commerce (world’s oldest Chamber); and pointing out Samoa on the map.

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