Experts from the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) have highlighted the relevance of Islamic finance in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through impact financing.
The experts discussed this in New York on the sidelines of the 72nd session of the UN General Assembly at a high level side event with the theme “Realizing Agenda 2030: How Islamic Finance through Impact Investing can help achieve the SDGs,”
Mr. Sayed Aqa, IsDB Vice President for Cooperation and Country Programming moderated the high-level side event. Panelists included Mahmoud Mohieldin, Senior Vice President, World Bank Group, Mohamad Akram Laldin, Executive Director, International Shariah Research Academy for Islamic Finance (ISRA), Aamir Abdul Rehman, Consultant, World Bank Group and Charles-Antoine Janssen, Founder & Managing Director, KOIS Invest.
Mr. Sayed Aqa, IsDB Vice President during the side event on the sidelines of UN General Assembly
The objective of the high-level event was to increase awareness and generate interest about the potential of Islamic finance and impact investing instruments, particularly by addressing the long-term investment needs of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The event brought Islamic and other development financiers together, to explore new partnership opportunities towards the implementation of the Global Goals.
In his opening remarks, Mr. Sayed Aqa said, “IDB Group is a committed partner in achieving Sustainable Development Goals.” He further added that creating environmental and social returns in addition to financial benefits form the basic principles of Islamic Finance.
Magdy Martínez-Solimán, UN Assistant Secretary General and Director of UNDP’s Bureau for Policy and Programme stated: “Islamic Finance is one of the fastest growing sources of finance in the global financial industry. Global assets in Islamic finance are expected to reach US$3.5 trillion in 2021. Considering the scale, I would like to underline that Islamic finance could offer a strong, non-traditional source of financing to advance SDG implementation”.
This is the third Islamic Finance focused event organized with IsDB during the General Assembly since 2015.The UNDP and IsDB have signed an MoU on collaboration in Islamic finance initiatives.
The Global Islamic Finance and Impact Investing Platform (GIFIIP), co-founded in 2016 by the IsDB and UNDP’s Istanbul International Centre for Private Sector Development (IICPSD), continues to act as an innovative collaboration platform to help achieve the 2030 Agenda.
Note to the Editor: UNDP and the Islamic Development Bank Group (IDBG) share 30 years of effective partnership and cooperation, following their first MoU in 1986. Since then, UNDP and the IDB have collaborated on a variety of efforts including: IDB funding more than US$240 million over the past 10 years for projects under UNDP’s Programme of Assistance to the Palestinian People related to agriculture, electricity and housing. The partnership has also spearheaded trade reforms, promoted pro-poor
growth and reduced unemployment, as part of the Aid for Trade Initiative for Arab States.
Since 2015, UNDP and IDBG have been capitalizing on opportunities to scale up their engagement, including joining forces to achieve the 2030 global development agenda. In this context, in May 2016, a new MoU and Action Plan (2016-2018), outlining concrete, measurable and time-bound initiatives to strengthen collaboration, launched by the UNDP Administrator and IDBG President at IDBG’s 41st Annual Meeting in Jakarta, Indonesia, on 18th May 2016. Since the launch of the MoU/Action Plan,
collaboration between UNDP and IDGB has expanded from one to four regions, in addition to new joint global projects on innovation, fragility, impact investment (through GIFIIP) and poverty reduction.