The Dubai Exhibition Centre has hosted, 18 January, the Global Goals Business Forum at Expo 2020 Dubai which brought together industry leaders and experts from across the public and private sectors to discuss the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The event was co-curated by Expo 2020 Dubai, Dubai Chamber of Commerce, Estonia and the UN Global Compact, and held as part of Global Goals Week, which runs 15-22 January.
In her opening address, Sanda Ojiambo, CEO and executive director of UN Global Compact, commented: “We need business leaders to make bold business decisions for the future, we need businesses to integrate the [SDGs] into their corporate strategies, we need businesses to account for their externalities in the same way they account for their business losses.”
Hassan Al Hashemi, vice-president of international relations at the Dubai Chamber of Commerce, said: “While the pandemic has highlighted the broader vulnerabilities of our global society, we know the roadmap forward to address these interconnected challenges are the [SDGs]. We call on businesses to align their efforts with the public sector to accelerate progress towards the SDGs and ensure a steady path to a brighter future.”
Financing was a core theme at the Forum and the session ‘Financing the 2030 Agenda’ was moderated by Marie Morice, head of sustainable finance at UN Global Compact. It focused on SDG-aligned investment instruments and Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) strategies that help further the SDGs.
Panellist Mabinty Koroma-Moore, founder and CEO of Legacy Impact Venture Enterprises Africa, stated: “The pandemic has exacerbated some of the gaps and this is an opportunity for more investors to look at blended finance approaches – to really think about how we can be more strategic in terms of creating and developing SDG-linked investment instruments that are aligned with needs of people in emerging and frontier markets.”
Other Forum sessions touched on the crucial role played by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the SDGs, how digitalisation can accelerate progress and the private sector’s efforts to prevent and eliminate child labour in their operations and supply chains.