Minister of International Cooperation, Dr. Rania Al Mashat, participated in this year’s European Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Summit, which makes it the first for Egypt to ever take part in the annual gathering.
The summit brought together a worldwide community of more than 5,000 sustainability leaders, including business representatives, industry federations, national partner organizations, NGOs, and policy makers to promote dialogue on how to strengthen sustainable supply chains and create an economic system that contributes to the UN SDG Goals. The participants included Mariette Herman, President of the Dutch Economic and Social Committee, Koen Doens, Director General in the European Commission, Johan van Zyl, President and CEO of Toyota Motor Europe, Mariam Dao Gabala, chairperson of the International Supervisory Board of the international civil society organization Solidaridad, Sun Luhui, Director of the Chamber of Commerce of Metals, Minerals and Chemicals (China), and Björn Böhning, the Permanent State Secretary of the German Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs. GLOBAL SUPPLY CHAINS THROUGH THE LENS OF SDGs Looking at global supply chains through the lens of the SDGs, the minister highlighted the significant role of global supply chains in achieving the SDGs, as it represents over 80% of global trade and engages over one in five workers. It 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 increase 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 for the goals through improving cooperation and increasing the exports of developing countries. Al Mashat 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 legal framework that protects the public interest and underpins responsible business practices, and regular monitoring of business performance. In regards to the private sector, she added that the SDGs explicitly call on businesses to solve sustainable development challenges, as business is 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. RETHINKING COOPERATION On the cooperation between Egypt and the European Union, the minister stated that the two partners have a strong strategic partnership than spans over several decades, with more than 37 projects across transportation, energy, health, education and environment amounting to more than EUR 1.35 billion 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 well as accelerating progress in this decade of action to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. 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 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); adopting a consistent Global Partnerships Narrative People&Projects&Purpose (P&P&P); and mapping ODA financing to SDGs for all projects with multilateral and bilateral development partners. Since the launch of the lending operations in Egypt in 1979 till present, the European Investment Bank’s investments amounted to EUR 10,640 B for the public, private, banking, equity funds, and finances more than 95 projects in various priority sectors for the Egyptian government such as: renewable energy, transportation, water and waste water, and SMEs.