The World Chambers Federation (WCF) plays a central role in helping organizations interact, engage and forge partnerships with the chamber of commerce community, aligning them to the chamber of commerce mission to support the SME business community.
UN agencies, multilateral development organizations and leading corporations recognize the role of local chambers of commerce networks in strengthening and supporting member companies and in turn the economies of the countries in which they operate. WCF also interconnects chambers globally on issues impacting their local communities.
WCF's key missions include:
• Strengthening chambers of commerce in developing countries and emerging economies Developing new global service chains
• Encouraging greater cooperation between more than 12,000 chambers to develop and expand their range of services
To achieve these goals, WCF has forged several partnerships with a variety of business and multilateral organizations and put in place several initiatives.
WCF works closely with chambers that share geographical regions or similar economic, cultural or linguistic traits. This fosters inter-regional cooperation, creating partnerships and joint ventures with ICC and WCF to better support their chambers and business communities.
Within the context of globalization, transnational chambers promote the vital role of business in the region, increasing regional business interaction, and enhancing regional economic growth.
Multilateral development organizations
Chambers of commerce play a pivotal role in the development of the private sector. WCF partners with multilateral development organizations developing programmes of assistance and training for chambers of commerce from developing and least developed countries. This helps to enhance the management and service capabilities of these chambers so that they can stimulate and foster private sector development. WCF also benefits from working with well-established chambers from the developing world and learning from their experiences.
WCF multilateral development partners include the Center for International Private Enterprise, the Inter-American Development Bank, the European Commission, the United Nations Development Programme, the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank and the Canadian International Development Agency.
Among other activities and events, these organizations have extended programmes of assistance and training to chambers of commerce in developing countries.
WCF also conducts workshops that address the new roles and services that chambers of commerce in developing countries are playing within the changing context of globalization and sustainable human development.
Such events enable chambers to identify new methods and ways to support the private sector, as well as to foster opportunities for cooperation at a local level.
AIDS-related illnesses have a major impact on workplaces in developing countries and subsequently on economic development.
In many countries, chambers are already actively involved in developing and delivering programmes to assist companies in managing this issue.
In its commitment as an official partner of the World AIDS Campaign, WCF helps chambers who wish to develop programmes in collaboration with chambers that have experience in this area. WCF also relays the UN AIDS campaign's message to the business community via its chamber of commerce network.
Rebuilding economies after disaster
In the wake of natural disasters, local economies are usually severely impeded – if not wiped out completely. Among those hit hardest are often small- and medium-sized enterprises, the backbone of the local economy.
Recognizing that reconstruction of these economies is an essential step in the recovery process, WCF works with its chamber members within the countries affected and around the world, to raise awareness and promote their initiatives aimed at getting industry back on track.
In the wake of the tsunamis, hurricanes and earthquakes, chambers are working together as well as rallying support from their business communities to lend aid and assistance in times of crisis.
Business for Peace Awards
Chambers of commerce worldwide have long proposed that there is a relationship between peace and business.
In this spirit, ICC and WCF collaborate each year on the Business for Peace Awards. The Awards recognize outstanding business people who have been able to achieve business success while acting in an ethically responsible way.