Moroccan businesswoman joins UN Alliance to rev up sustainable development investments

In a bid to scale up investment efforts to reach sustainable development targets, the UN Secretary General last week launched a UN-supported coalition of 30 world business leaders, including Moroccan businesswoman Miriem Bensalah-Chaqroun.

The Global Investors for Sustainable Development Alliance (GISD) is tasked with providing decisive leadership in mobilizing resources for sustainable development, with the core objective being to identify incentives for long-term sustainable investments.

“We face widening inequality, increased devastation from conflicts and disasters and a rapidly warming Earth. These leaders have seized our sense of urgency, recognizing that our pace must be at a run, not a crawl”, António Guterres told business leaders at a meeting in New York. “They are committing to cooperate across borders, across financial sectors and even with their competitors, because it is both ethical and good business sense to invest in sustainable development for all people on a healthy planet.”

The Alliance will operate on a two-year timeline, from October 2019 through October 2021, focusing on solutions related to long-term SDG investment, identifying such investment opportunities for developing countries, and enhancing the impact of private funding in development efforts.

A few of the actionable solutions the alliance is expected to advance, include encouraging innovation in financial instruments, revisiting existing and new business models aligned with the 2030 Agenda, and addressing industry obstacles to long-term investment in sustainable development.

The co-presidents of the GISD alliance for the next two years will be Oliver Bate, CEO of Allianz Group, and Leila Fourie, CEO of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. The other members of the alliance are CEOs of large multinationals, including the Bank of America, Citigroup, ICBC, Infosys, Investec, Santander, and UBS.

The alliance will be separated into three groups with distinct objectives. Bensalah-Chaqroun’s company, Oulmes, will co-preside over the group focusing on investment opportunities in developing countries, along with Allianz Group.

“I really believe that investments in sustainable development are crucial to guarantee an inclusive economic growth, reduce social and regional disparities, and preserve natural resources,” said Bensalah-Chaqroun, who is currently a director at Holmarcom group, a family holding business, as well as CEO of Oulmes, a mineral water company, following her nomination.

“As members of the GISD Alliance, we aim to create investment opportunities aligned with the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals), and the promotion of innovative and accessible financial products,” added the former boss of the CGEM, the Moroccan Employers’ Union.

The mobilization of the private sector “will be critical to the implementation of the SDGs”, the UN’s Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) has said.

Formation of the alliance comes amidst growing recognition in the corporate community that the success of companies is “inextricably linked” to a sustainable future for the world.

Development needs are estimated at trillions of dollars per year, and even if funding from all public sources is maximized, there will still be significant shortfalls.

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