MBR Initiative, UN-Habitat launch 'Decade of Action Challenge' to promote sustainable urbanisation

Dubai-Doaa A.Moneim, Thursday 25 Nov 2021

The Mohammed bin Rashid Initiative for Global Prosperity (MBR Initiative) and the United Nations’ Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) have announced the launch of the ‘Decade of Action Challenge’, to promote sustainable and inclusive urbanisation through innovative solutions, partnerships, and transformative ideas.

During the GMIS2021 even being held in Dubai, photo: Al-Ahram

This took place within the Global Manufacturing and Industrialisation Summit (GMIS2021) Week being held in Dubai that concludes on Friday.

The MBR Initiative comprises four core pillars: Resilience, community, harmony, and dignity.

It brings together companies, start-ups, entrepreneurs, governments, and NGOs to create an ecosystem designed to enable new businesses to be built, new jobs to be created, and new solutions to be unlocked in support of the United Nations’ SDGs.

UN-Habitat, on the other hand, is an agency that aims to improve life for everyone in cities and towns across the world. It has programmes in over 90 countries that support people and fosters inclusivity, safety, resilience, and sustainable.

The two organisations signed a memorandum of understanding during the summit to support entrepreneurs and start-ups develop impactful solutions to address the key challenges of urbanisation and advance equitable economic development in cities in order to achieve the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The ten-year partnership was born as a result of the shared vision and long-standing association between the two organisations to make cities more prosperous while creating a global innovation ecosystem of social impact leaders made up of UN entities, governments, entrepreneurs, investors, philanthropists, academia, and private sector entities.

“While rapid urbanisation has transformed cities into engines of economic growth, they also present significant human development challenges, including pollution, poverty, income inequality, and infrastructure development. Combatting the challenges of urbanisation and generating opportunities for prosperity requires bold ideas and cross-border and cross sector partnerships,” said the Executive Director of UN-Habitat, Maimunah Mohd Sharif.

Reinforcing the importance of stimulating inclusive economic progress in cities, each cohort of the Decade of Action Challenge will operate in two-year cycles for a total of five cohorts to encourage start-ups and entrepreneurs to submit innovative solutions.

Both the MBR Initiative and UN-Habitat will support start-ups in designing and developing market-driven solutions that will be implemented in urban centres across the world through UN-Habitat’s global and country level networks.

The GMIS2021’s Organising Committee head Badr Al-Olama said that digital innovation along with robust policymaking is essential to accelerate sustainable urbanisation and create new opportunities for shared prosperity.

He added that advancements in digital technology are rapidly pushing the boundaries of socio-economic development, providing governments, businesses, and international organisations with innovative tools to build resilient communities.

The Global Prosperity Conference was held during the six-day GMIS2021 Week that is being held from 22 to 27 November at Expo Dubai’s Exhibition Centre, featuring over 250 global speakers.

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