Ban Ki-Moon urged to help boost investments in SCP businesses by youth UN delegates at Rome
Rome, 23 October 2015, #TheWorldWeWant is an initiative launched by The Italian Society for International Organization (SIOI UNA) as part of the worldwide celebrations of the 70th Anniversary of the United Nations. Together with the United States Diplomatic Missions in Italy, they organised ROMUN, a global conference of youth delegates who convened at the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) to draft a Youth Roadmap, which portrays the vision of Sustainable Development Goals by the global youth delegates and to urge the United Nations to address the most urgent points in their implementation. Over 500 delegates from 50 countries joined 6 roundtables to discuss and debate the most sensitive topics of the Post-2015 Development Agenda and to draft individual segments of the Roadmap. The opening of the conference included speeches from amongst others Giorgio Napolitano, former President of Italy, John R. Philips, the Ambassador of the United States to Italy, and Dan Gustafson, Deputy Director General of FAO. They all highlighted the importance of the voice of youth in shaping the Post-2015 Development Agenda, as ultimately the youth of today will be the ones to take over the management of our planet’s governance tomorrow.
ROMUN partnered with World Resources Forum to avail of their expertise in sustainable consumption and production (SCP) and to help draft the Study Guide for Roundtable 5 of ROMUN “Jump Beyond the Borders and Foster Innovation” which was concerned with shifting the society towards sustainable consumption and production and adoption of sustainable lifestyles and the role of entrepreneurs and small businesses in the process. Angel Versetti from WRF coordinated drafting of the Study Guide for the delegates and served as Chairman and Rapporteur at ROMUN. In his first address to the Committee he noted “Sustainable Consumption and Production as a business case has not been given a proper chance to prove itself financially. Too little investment has been made into SCP and the smallest businesses and startups who innovate for sustainability have far too many financial and institutional barriers to scale up and prove their case, particularly in the emerging economies”. He urged the delegates to think about the realistic mechanisms where international cooperation could result in measurable impact for adoption of SCP principles by businesses and ushering in sustainable lifestyles in all countries, irrespective of level of economic development.
Three full days of intense negotiations and debates ensued, where pertinent questions were raised by youth delegates: Who is going to pay for the initial stages of investment where there will be no immediate financial returns? What incentives could be developed for the private sector to jump into sustainable investments? Is there any way private parties would invest into non-excludable public goods such as fresh air or biodiversity? What mechanisms could be developed to effectively connect SCP businesses with investors and financiers? How could the United Nations, in particular the 10-Year-Framework Program, facilitate such investments?
The outcome of the Roundtable discussions was a resolution, unanimously adopted by youth delegates, which served as the backbone for the final ROMUN Youth Roadmap on the questions of sustainable consumption and production, entrepreneurship and innovation. The Roadmap was publicly presented at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Italy to Franco Frattini, President of SIOI, and Michele Valensise, Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, who will communicate this Road Map to Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary General of the United Nations. In the main theses of this Roadmap concerning SCP youth delegates demanded that the UN address the following:
- “Promote and support green and sustainable ideas for SMEs in the different sectors of life and markets, and investing in the sustainable infrastructures growth in developing countries”
- “Ensure communication between SMEs, consumers and investors, by providing scientific and technological researches and knowledge to ensure managerial skills in developing countries and upcoming enterprises”
- “Enhance financial support through: policy frameworks in favour of micro-finance development, incentives that enables banks to open new opportunities for investors and partnerships between states and multi – donor agencies”
- “In terms of private loans, priority for funding should be given to those businesses that encompass social, economic and environmental goals. Investors are encouraged, and should be incentivized, to follow the example of impact- and vision-led investment”
- “Stresses the need of legal action focused on facilitating investments in green energy and energy efficiency to attract investors and lighten the economic weight of climate change measures.”
- “Develop and the improve existing national databases of sustainable businesses and start-ups working towards sustainable consumption and production (SCP) for the purpose of showing profitable opportunities to invest into SCP businesses”
- “Reinforce financial skills of networks and clusters of businesses operating in the same regions and sectors (using National Cleaner Production Centres and Resource Efficient and Cleaner Production networks in particular) or at the same firm level that will increase know-how and expertise sharing and bridge the gap between the techno-commercial and financial sectors.”
World Resources Forum has also benefitted from gathering comments, feedback and voices of the youth delegates from 50 countries, and will reflect them in development of its upcoming project IBIS (Igniting Business Investments in Sustainability), which aims to develop a globally transposable model to bring private sector investors and financiers in Sustainable Consumption and Production business projects. With its participative, inclusive, multi-stakeholder philosophy, World Resources Forum will continue engaging a variety of actors of global governance in development of its projects and activities, including young leaders and active students.
Source of photos: ROMUN Flickr Page