Business & Philanthropy forum to highlight inclusive approach for equitable climate solutions

Special Badr Jafar, COP28 special representative for business and philanthropy, highlighted the goals of the forum.
Badr Jafar, COP28 special representative for business and philanthropy, highlighted the goals of the forum.
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Updated 01 December 2023
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Business & Philanthropy forum to highlight inclusive approach for equitable climate solutions

Business & Philanthropy forum to highlight inclusive approach for equitable climate solutions

DUBAI: As global leaders converge on Dubai to attend the UN COP28 to discuss ways to mitigate the effects of climate change and strategies, there are calls for cross-border collaboration ensuring inclusivity to achieve common goals.

To effectively highlight these aspects of climate activism, the first-of-its-kind Business and Philanthropy Climate Forum has been organized with 55 sessions highlighting over 20 actionable opportunities for immediate climate and nature-centric interventions.

The forum will be attended by 1,300 business leaders and philanthropists from over 100 countries and seeks to provide a unique platform for enhanced cross-border collaboration.

READ MORE: Click here for our coverage of COP28

In an exclusive interview with Arab News, Badr Jafar, COP28 special representative for business and philanthropy, highlighted the goals of the forum, the expected role of the private sector, and the need for an all-inclusive approach for equitable and just solutions to address climate issues.

Stressing the need for a paradigm shift, Jafar called on all stakeholders to move beyond the dichotomy of activism versus capitalism. “The climate conversation needs a new paradigm of activism that embraces dynamism, capital, and action networks of business and philanthropy,” he said.

 

 

Highlighting the global nature of environmental challenges, Jafar laid emphasis on an inclusive approach, especially with respect to the Global South. He was of the view that with 75 percent of the global population residing in these areas, they are not only at the forefront of climate change impacts but are also key players in global growth.

Almost 50 percent of the business leaders participating in the forum hail from the Global South indicating the region’s importance and underlining the commitment to ensuring their active involvement in shaping climate-related policies.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • The first-of-its-kind Business and Philanthropy Climate Forum has been organized with 55 sessions highlighting over 20 actionable opportunities for immediate climate and nature-centric interventions.
  • The forum will be attended by 1,300 business leaders and philanthropists from over 100 countries and seeks to provide a unique platform for enhanced cross-border collaboration.

“Achieving an equitable climate and nature transition by 2050 is going to require an ‘all-hands-on-deck’ response from every part of the global community,” Jafar asserts. “To deliver this just transition, we will need trillions, not billions.”

He also underscored the pivotal role of the private sector in driving climate action. With private capital markets surpassing $23 trillion, businesses can play a significant role in fixing climate finance. The forum aims to mobilize action platforms, leveraging the innovative capacity of businesses to address urgent climate needs — from breakthrough technologies to transforming food supply chains.

“The active and decisive engagement of businesses is absolutely critical to driving meaningful action on climate and nature,” said Jafar. “Private capital markets have more than doubled over the past decade, reaching over $23 trillion.”

The executive backed his arguments with concrete examples highlighting the collaboration between business and philanthropy to scale climate projects and businesses, fund innovation, and reduce emissions.

“An example is the announcement of a large-scale ‘Blended Finance Vehicle,’ to scale climate projects and businesses in emerging markets and developing economies,” he stated. “Other examples include launching of the ‘Climate and Nature Moonshots,’ an innovative venture that will fund 10 innovative projects focused on renewable energy and protection of natural habitat and biodiversity.”

As an Emirati businessperson, Jafar also discussed the role of Gulf-based companies, especially in the energy sector, in fostering sustainable practices. Calling for viewing energy and societal challenges as interconnected, he emphasized that a green and inclusive approach to development can usher in a new model of growth for emerging economies.

Achieving an equitable climate and nature transition by 2050 is going to require an ‘all-hands-on-deck’ response from every part of the global community

Badr Jafar, COP28 special representative for business and philanthropy

“If the first Sustainable Development Goal is to eradicate extreme poverty by 2030, we must look at both energy and society’s challenges through a single lens,” Jafar remarked. “Countries can fully evaluate smart energy policies as enablers of development, especially in regions like MENA where supporting a fair and just energy evolution must also facilitate economic growth and resultant critical jobs.”

Jafar acknowledged the trust gap between industrialized and developing nations and outlined COP28’s focus on proper engagement from regions most affected by climate change. The UAE and Saudi Arabia, acting as gateways for emerging markets, present an unprecedented opportunity to showcase the transformative journey of the Global South.

“When it comes to emerging markets, we know that the Global South is going to bear the brunt of climate change,” he said.

“Issues like extreme heat, water scarcity, and poor air quality (have) already created systemic challenges, despite the fact that the richest 10 percent of the world have per capita carbon footprints 11 times higher than the poorest 50 percent.”

Jafar wants all the stakeholders to understand the interconnected nature of human development with climate goals. He emphasized the need to address the needs of the 800 million (people) without electricity and the 2.3 billion lacking access to clean cooking fuels. Initiatives discussed at the forum aim to create inclusive climate policies that provide equitable opportunities for billions worldwide.

“Ultimately, we can no longer afford to decouple the human development agenda — which encompasses 12 of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals — from the climate agenda, or the nature agenda for that matter,” Jafar asserted. “They are two sides of the same coin, and the edge of that coin is conducive and inclusive climate policy that embraces a greener evolution of all of our systems.”


UAE economy to grow by 5% in 2024, minister reiterates 

UAE economy to grow by 5% in 2024, minister reiterates 
Updated 4 sec ago
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UAE economy to grow by 5% in 2024, minister reiterates 

UAE economy to grow by 5% in 2024, minister reiterates 

RIYADH: The UAE’s economy is projected to grow by 5 percent in 2024, a leading member of the government has reiterated.

In an interview with Emirates News Agency, also known as WAM, Minister of the Economy Abdulla bin Touq Al-Marri said that more than 73 percent of the national economy is now non-oil, a historic first for the country.

His projection is in line with recent assessments by the Ministry of Finance and S&P Global, which forecast growth of 5.7 percent and 5 percent respectively.

“This achievement reflects the confidence of the private sector and investors around the world in the UAE’s investment environment,” Al-Marri said. 

The minister added that the private sector is a key pillar in the new economic and investment landscape and is at the heart of global changes and challenges. 

“And in implementation of the directives of the wise leadership, the UAE has identified the most sustainable and flexible economic sectors, which have reached more than 16 sectors, including health technology, agriculture, education, financial services, artificial intelligence, and other sectors that contribute to the sustainability of economic sectors and enhance the strength of the national economy,” Al-Marri highlighted.


More opportunities for women awaiting in the petrochemical industry: SABIC official

More opportunities for women awaiting in the petrochemical industry: SABIC official
Updated 21 min 12 sec ago
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More opportunities for women awaiting in the petrochemical industry: SABIC official

More opportunities for women awaiting in the petrochemical industry: SABIC official

RIYADH: Saudi women should explore more opportunities in the petrochemical industry, as only 25 percent of the sector’s workforce are female, said a top official. 

Speaking at the Human Capability Initiative in Riyadh on Feb. 28, Faisal Al-Suwailem, executive vice president of corporate human resources at Saudi Basic Industries Corp., said that the industrial sector in the Kingdom has been witnessing a sharp rise in female employment over the past three years. 

“If we take a look at the petrochemical industry, in the last 20 years, I have seen a great increase in the participation of females in the petrochemical industry. However, if you look at the number of women in the petrochemical industry, it is still about 25 percent. So, I believe we still have room to grow,” said Al-Suwailem. 

He added: “In the industrial sector, the hiring of females has increased 93 percent over the last three years. We have right now over 63,000 females working in plants around the Kingdom.” 

Al-Suwailem further pointed out that Saudi Arabia has surpassed the female workforce target outlined in the Kingdom’s Vision 2030. 

“Let us first look at Vision 2030, and under the thriving economy for female participation in the labor market, the baseline target was set at 22.8 percent, and now we are at 34.5 percent,” said Al-Suwailem. 

He added that SABIC stands out as one of the companies offering structured training programs aimed at nurturing and enhancing the skills of young individuals.

Al-Suwailem also underscored that SABIC offers scholarship programs that provide equal opportunities for both men and women. 

“SABIC is a national champion for sure in petrochemicals, but it also has a proven record of being a national champion for development, job creation, learning and contribution to the gross domestic product,” said Al-Suwailem. 

He added: “SABIC’s scholarship program, which is meant for Saudi bright young talents, is right now equally split between men and women.” 

For her part, during the same panel discussion, Cabinet Secretary and Minister of Labor and Social Protection of Kenya Florence Bore said that the country is preparing its youth to adapt themselves to procure jobs in the international market. 

“Our focus currently is on labor migration, and even as you focus on labor migration, it is one of the areas where we get foreign remittances,” said Bore. 

She added: “Kenya has been undergoing lots of changes in the workplace. We have both the informal and formal jobs. The informal sector is really growing at a faster rate than the formal jobs. And because of that, you will find most of our Kenyans are now venturing out for jobs in the international market.”


More opportunities for women awaiting in the petrochemical industry: SABIC official

More opportunities for women awaiting in the petrochemical industry: SABIC official
Updated 21 min 16 sec ago
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More opportunities for women awaiting in the petrochemical industry: SABIC official

More opportunities for women awaiting in the petrochemical industry: SABIC official

RIYADH: Saudi women should explore more opportunities in the petrochemical industry, as only 25 percent of the sector’s workforce are female, said a top official. 

Speaking at the Human Capability Initiative in Riyadh on Feb. 28, Faisal Al-Suwailem, executive vice president of corporate human resources at Saudi Basic Industries Corp., said that the industrial sector in the Kingdom has been witnessing a sharp rise in female employment over the past three years. 

“If we take a look at the petrochemical industry, in the last 20 years, I have seen a great increase in the participation of females in the petrochemical industry. However, if you look at the number of women in the petrochemical industry, it is still about 25 percent. So, I believe we still have room to grow,” said Al-Suwailem. 

He added: “In the industrial sector, the hiring of females has increased 93 percent over the last three years. We have right now over 63,000 females working in plants around the Kingdom.” 

Al-Suwailem further pointed out that Saudi Arabia has surpassed the female workforce target outlined in the Kingdom’s Vision 2030. 

“Let us first look at Vision 2030, and under the thriving economy for female participation in the labor market, the baseline target was set at 22.8 percent, and now we are at 34.5 percent,” said Al-Suwailem. 

He added that SABIC stands out as one of the companies offering structured training programs aimed at nurturing and enhancing the skills of young individuals.

Al-Suwailem also underscored that SABIC offers scholarship programs that provide equal opportunities for both men and women. 

“SABIC is a national champion for sure in petrochemicals, but it also has a proven record of being a national champion for development, job creation, learning and contribution to the gross domestic product,” said Al-Suwailem. 

He added: “SABIC’s scholarship program, which is meant for Saudi bright young talents, is right now equally split between men and women.” 

For her part, during the same panel discussion, Cabinet Secretary and Minister of Labor and Social Protection of Kenya Florence Bore said that the country is preparing its youth to adapt themselves to procure jobs in the international market. 

“Our focus currently is on labor migration, and even as you focus on labor migration, it is one of the areas where we get foreign remittances,” said Bore. 

She added: “Kenya has been undergoing lots of changes in the workplace. We have both the informal and formal jobs. The informal sector is really growing at a faster rate than the formal jobs. And because of that, you will find most of our Kenyans are now venturing out for jobs in the international market.”


Saudi Arabia’s tourism fund signs agreement with New Murabba  

Saudi Arabia’s tourism fund signs agreement with New Murabba  
Updated 34 min 30 sec ago
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Saudi Arabia’s tourism fund signs agreement with New Murabba  

Saudi Arabia’s tourism fund signs agreement with New Murabba  

RIYADH: Financing and investment opportunities are set to rise in Saudi Arabia’s new downtown project, with the Tourism Development Fund signing an agreement with New Murabba Development Co.   

This memorandum of understanding aims to foster cooperation and contribute to the Kingdom’s social and economic growth by developing New Murabba, situated northwest of Riyadh.  

According to the agreement, the fund will explore direct financing or investment opportunities in the project through its partners, investors, or contractors, aligning with its policies and procedures, the Saudi Press Agency reported. 

The MoU was signed by Qusai Al-Fakhri, CEO of TDF, and Michael Dyke, CEO of New Murabba Development Co., a subsidiary of the Public Investment Fund. 

The collaboration will also include workshops to discuss potential cooperation opportunities, while New Murabba Development Co. will be responsible for qualifying the project’s infrastructure and foundation.  

Al-Fakhri emphasized the deal's significance in achieving the goals of Saudi Vision 2030, noting that New Murabba aims to provide an exceptional lifestyle, work, and entertainment experience.  

The MoU is an extension of several memoranda and cooperation agreements the fund has signed with the private sector, emphasizing the importance of collaborative work to achieve shared goals.   

Al-Fakhri noted that these agreements would support the TDF’s efforts to promote the tourism sector’s growth and diversity, attracting domestic and foreign investments to make tourist destinations a modern lifestyle model that attracts tourists and offers quality experiences.  

Dyke said that the deal aims to develop a modern downtown in line with Saudi Vision 2030’s goals noting that New Murabba’s design focuses on sustainability standards and life quality improvement, including green spaces, walking paths, and promoting health and sports concepts.   

He added that the project also aims to offer a unique living, working, and entertainment experience within a 15-minute walking radius, along with internal transportation means.  

Established in 2022 by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, New Murabba Development Co. plays a crucial role in realizing Saudi Vision 2030. It focuses on developing a modern downtown centered around the iconic Cube building, redefining Riyadh’s cityscape. 

This initiative is designed to be a cultural symbol for Riyadh, featuring hotel and residential units, office spaces, and entertainment facilities, all incorporating the latest digital technologies. 


Central Bank of Jordan introduces new Shariah-compliant monetary policy tools 

Central Bank of Jordan introduces new Shariah-compliant monetary policy tools 
Updated 28 February 2024
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Central Bank of Jordan introduces new Shariah-compliant monetary policy tools 

Central Bank of Jordan introduces new Shariah-compliant monetary policy tools 

RIYADH: Liquidity management in Jordan’s cash market is set to undergo a significant transformation as the country’s central bank introduces new tools for monetary policy. 

Aligned with Shariah laws, the Central Bank of Jordan has introduced these instruments in collaboration with Islamic banks operating within the country. The goal is to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of liquidity management in the cash market, the Jordan News Agency reported. 

These new measures will not only assist Islamic banks in achieving more flexible liquidity management but also contribute to the establishment of an effective interbank market among them. 

Under the framework of these tools, the central bank will be able to provide Islamic banks with daytime liquidity, overnight liquidity, and liquidity extending up to one week.

This will be done based on the banks’ requests or at the apex bank’s initiative, allowing flexibility in terms of timing, amount, and duration. The Central Bank of Jordan will determine these parameters to align with its operational objectives in implementing monetary policy.  

This move by the central bank comes as part of its efforts to develop the operational framework of monetary policy and diversify the tools at its disposal. The decision is in line with the best practices of central banks and addresses the specific needs of the local cash and banking market, as reported by PETRA. 

In a related development, earlier in January, 16 Jordanian banks jointly launched the first private sector investment fund, committing $388 million to foster the growth of local businesses. 

The Jordan Capital and Investment Fund, established in 2021 with a capital commitment of 275 million dinars ($387.6 million), was officially registered under the 2022 Investment Environment Law, the state news agency reported. 

The instrument aims to inject money into emerging firms with growth, development, and expansion prospects, providing financing to enhance job opportunities and propel nationwide growth, as stated in an official statement reported by the Jordan News Agency. 

As the country’s first and largest private sector investment fund, it is designed to allocate funds to vital and promising sectors, such as food and health security, manufacturing, and information and communication technology. The objective is to harness Jordan’s potential in building the future, it added. 

At that time, Hani Al-Qadi, the chairman of the Jordan Capital and Investment Fund, had said the fund is crucial for achieving “accelerated growth” by fully leveraging Jordan’s economic potential.