Investing in women empowerment will be a key factor in helping economies recover from the Covid-19 pandemic, and ensuring that nations are on the right track when it comes to long-term sustainability goals, experts said at The International Sustainability & Growth Summit (TISGS 2021).
The event, which is being held in Dubai, is organised by UK-based non-profit The GUIDE, and brings together some of the most influential leaders in the world including pioneer thinkers, and successful business leaders who are at the frontiers of advancement. TISGS 2021 covers the latest research findings, current practices, and theoretical development in the fields of the four pillars of sustainability: human, social, economic, and environment.
Sheikh Abdullah Ali Al Saihati, honorary president of The GUIDE London Branch, said that there are several obstacles that governments around the world need to tackle when it comes to protecting the environment. One of these revolves around the impact of the oil and gas industry on our environment. He noted that the world is slowly moving away from fossil fuels towards a greener future with renewable forms of energy.
“We need to clean our world for a better future for our nations,” he said in his opening remarks at the event. “The world needs specialists to come together for a study that will give us better results for our future lives. It is important for the governments of the world to take the initiative to solve the problems that we are facing in the world today. I am sure that we will see even more sources of clean energy such as solar and water energy that will help us create a better future.”
He also highlighted the role that governments have to play in aiding developing nations transition to more sustainable forms of energy. “I hope that events such as the one we are having today will help us in coming together in the future and completing this mission.”
Princess Moradeun Ogunlana, CEO of Innovative Global Consulting, an infrastructure, agriculture, energy, business, and economic development corporation connecting businesses in Africa to the world, highlighted the role of women empowerment in building a more sustainable future.
She revealed that she had been passionate about women empowerment ever since her university days when she found that there were various obstacles that women faced when deciding on which careers they wanted to pursue. Looking back at her experience, she urged young women to believe in themselves and their ideas first, before moving to start a business or take up a career of their choice.
Highlighting the situation with the Covid-19 pandemic, she explained that, globally, women have been affected disproportionately compared to men. “In Africa, for example, a lot of women are farmers, or they are responsible for selling the produce in the local markets; when the lockdowns happened, these women were negatively impacted and many were unable to make a living. This is where NGOs and NPOs like ours played a massive role, because governments were overwhelmed and unable to provide the support that these women needed. One thing that this pandemic has shown the world is just how resilient women are.”
Looking ahead, she noted that partnerships among different entities, both public and private, would be a key factoring in ensuring that women are able to continue their work towards economic recovery. She also noted that women have a key role to play in supporting each other and helping them to grow to be the best version of themselves in both their professional and personal lives.
Serial entrepreneur and civic leader, Supha Xayprasith-Mays, also reviewed some of the key challenges that economies around the world have to face especially as they tackle climate change.
“We have to realise that climate change is a challenge that is created because of human behaviour,” she said. “For us to find solutions, we first have to look at how our behaviours are amplifying the issue. We are yesterday behind when it comes to moving towards more sustainable forms of energy and reducing harmful emissions. Accountability is something that has to be talked about with all our partners, especially when it comes to the impact of our actions on the environment.”
She explained that the transition to a greener economy won’t happen overnight, but organisations can’t be seen as dragging their feet. “We are already seeing progress in the automotive industry where electric vehicles are growing in popularity; as well as regulations in the construction sector when new buildings are being made to support the increase in populations.”
Like Ogunlana, she said that women empowerment, and the sharing of best practices, will be key in building a more secure and greener future. “We need to bring solutions to the table that prove that change is possible and that if you really put your mind to it, then there is no goal that you can’t achieve.”
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