The Vatican, 30 October 2016 “You live in the extraordinary times and it’s up to you to shape the future of the sustainable development”. These were the words from the opening speech of professor Jeffrey Sachs, special advisor to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon on the Millennium Development Goals. Sachs is also director of UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN).
The audience in the main forum of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences of Vatican consisted of 48 young leaders working on sustainable development all over the world. They were selected from a large pool of applicants to present their projects at the Vatican Youth Symposium 2016.
Angel Versetti of World Resources Forum (WRF) was chosen to present IBIRE, Igniting Business Developments for Resource-Efficiency, a flagship project proposal that has been coordinated by WRF in cooperation with UN Environment under the socalled 10 Year Framework on Sustainable Consumption and Production (10YFP). IBIRE was co-created with the German development organisation GIZ and the UNEP/UNIDO Resource Efficiency Cleaner Production Network (RECPnet).
Pope Francis, who met the delegates at his residence, wished success to the young leaders in implementation of their projects.
While the Symposium concerned itself with all the Sustainable Development Goals, eradication of poverty was one of the focal themes. The mission of project IBIRE is to bring more private sector capital to businesses working towards sustainable use of resources.
“For many people in developing countries entrepreneurship is the only road out of poverty, and the only means of providing for their families. Many entrepreneurs have innovative business proposals that could spur economic growth, while also creating social and environmental benefits for their communities. Unfortunately, due to lack of effective tools to connect these entrepreneurs with impact investors and financiers, their proposals fail to realise and sustainable business practices remain elusive in many parts of the developing world”, noted Angel during his speech at the plenary session.
He underscored the importance of both the capital availability and transfer of managerial skills necessary to make a business enterprise successful. Frameworks for business growth akin to accelerators, tailored specifically at sustainable businesses were discussed by other participants as well as by Sachs.
Related proposals to resource-efficient businesses
Delegates viewed IBIRE as a framework that could complement and enhance activities of their own projects. Related proposals at the symposium included:
- “Increasing Economic Growth with FAA System”, developed by Christopher Marchio, the delegate of Indonesia whose aim is to increase funding for Indonesian startups;
- “Sustainability Hub Model”, a proposal to empower students to launch their sustainability projects, developed by Felxi Spira representing Germany;
- “AINS: International Agency for Sustainable Businesses”, an initiative to create a multi-stakeholder agency with the aim of growing the number of sustainable businesses worldwide, proposed by Mateo Botero Perez of Columbia.
These synergies of financing resource-efficient businesses were explored when the key solutions were developed for the followup activities of the SDSN Youth Symposium.
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