The European Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Summit concluded its works on Saturday, which witnessed the participation of Egypt for the first time.
This year, the summit brought together more than 5,000 sustainability leaders to incubate action-oriented collaborations that aim to increase the resilience of companies, rebuild societies and economies, and accelerate the implementation of the SDGs by 2030, with a special focus on global supply chains and how they can help in achieving the SDGs globally.
During the summit meetings, that were held from 26 to 30 October, Egypt’s Minister of International Cooperation Rania Al-Mashat said that global supply chains play a significant role in achieving the SDGs, as they represent over 80 percent of global trade and engage over one in five workers.
Global supply chains can specifically help achieve Goal 8 for decent work through job creation and trade support for developing countries, Goal 9 for industry and innovation through increasing the access of small-scale industrial and other enterprises to markets and enhancing the technological capabilities of industrial sectors in all countries, and Goal 17 for partnerships and improving cooperation, and increasing the exports of developing countries, said Al-Mashat
During the meeting, the minister noted that enabling sustainable supply chains is a shared duty between the public and private sector, as governments play a role in ensuring that supply chains are sustainable through enforcing a legal framework that protects the public interest and underpins responsible business practices, and regular monitoring of business performance.
In terms of the private sector, Al-Mashat expounded that the SDGs explicitly call on businesses to solve sustainable development challenges, as businesses are considered to be a vital partner in achieving sustainability and the development goals.
To push for sustainable supply chains, Al-Mashat stated that governments and policy makers should practice “stakeholder capitalism,” which are principles that foster and promote meaningful engagement, and offer economies a unique opportunity to prioritize a circular economy centered around human and social aspirations.
On cooperation between Egypt and the European Union (EU), the minister stated that the two partners have a robust strategic partnership that spans over several decades, with more than 37 projects in transportation, energy, health, education and environment sectors, which amount to more than €1.35 billion in grants.
She added that there has been a shift in development cooperation to a new paradigm – development cooperation effectiveness, where the emphasis is about partnerships — governments, development partners, the private sector and civil society — working together to advance global and national economic strategic goals, as well as accelerating progress in this decade of action to the 17 SDGs.
To achieve this, Al-Mashat noted that Egypt’s Ministry of International Cooperation has been working to strengthen economic diplomacy through three main principles: regularly organizing multi-stakeholder platforms to ensure that all projects between development partners are streamlined and effectively aligned with the national agenda and the 17 SDGs; adopting a consistent Global Partnerships Narrative People & Projects & Purpose; and mapping official development assistance financing to SDGs for all projects with multilateral and bilateral development partners.
Since the launch of the lending operations in Egypt in 1979, the European Investment Bank’s investments amounted to €10.6 billion for public and private businesses, banking, equity funds, and more than 95 projects in various priority sectors for the Egyptian government, including renewable energy, transportation, water and waste water, and small and medium-sized enterprises.