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Inclusive Globalization Must Work for All

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A more human-centred globalization is critical for our shared prosperity and sustainable future, agreed a roster of young panellists in the opening plenary of the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2019 in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland.

“We want to be future-oriented, and not just absorbed by crisis management,” said Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, welcoming participants in his opening remarks, after a video presentation showcasing the polarities of globalization, from megacities to refugee camps, classrooms to space.

“Globalization is a fact,” underlined Schwab, but is distinct from globalism, the philosophy with which we promote globalization. “The World Economic Forum has never stood for unfettered globalism. We feel that Globalization 4.0 has to be more human-centred,” as well as more inclusive and sustainable.

He stressed the role of young social entrepreneurs and leaders in effecting this attitudinal change: “With half of the population below 27-years old, we have to listen to the young people.”

Six millennial Co-Chairs are shaping the discussion at this year’s Annual Meeting and shared their stories and insight as Global Shapers on stage.

Basima Abdulrahman started the first green building company in Iraq, designing structures to meet sustainability standards despite the dangers and destruction of ISIS. “I decided to go back to Iraq and do something positive and impactful,” said the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of KESK Green Building Consulting, calling on participants to “think collectively” beyond personal benefits, race and region.

“People are feeling that they are getting behind,” warned Juan David Aristizabal, President and Co-Founder of Colombian education non-profit Los Zúper, “and I think we can solve that. Machines are fast, but humans are creative; machines can tell us about the past, but as humans we can build the future.”

Noura Berrouba, Member of the Governing Body of the European Youth Parliament, challenged participants to imagine those outside the walls of Davos. “These are not threats; these are not problems,” she said. “These are change agents and opportunities, and if we want to create a world where we tackle our common challenges, we need to work with the people outside of these halls.”

“It’s time to be uncomfortable, and bold,” she closed. “The real success is not measured by the amount of meetings, but by the real impact on people on the ground.”

“Globalization 4.0 needs to start from localization,” commented Akira Sakano, Chair of the Board of Directors at Zero Waste Academy, who moved to a small town in Japan that commits to produce zero waste by 2020.

There are “deep-seated, systemic inequities” in the world, reminded Julia Luscombe, Director of Strategic Initiatives at sustainable food non-profit Feeding America. “We need to drive a more sustainable and equitable global architecture. That should be our priority. It’s the priority of the young people we are representing here today.”

Mohammed Hassan Mohamud decried conditions in the Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya, where he has lived for over 20 years and now works as Zonal Chairman as well as being a Global Shaper. He told participants: “As you attend the meetings and as people discuss great lofty ideas, think about those of us who are on the sidelines, watching and not asking for much, just looking for a place to call home.”

The seventh Co-Chair, Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella, highlighted the core need for innovation in society. “This next phase of globalization needs to deliver economic growth but deliver it such that it is equitable growth” he said. “Let’s challenge the status quo with innovation and ingenuity.”

Ueli Maurer, President of the Swiss Confederation and Federal Councillor of Finance of the Swiss Federal Department of Finance, also gave a special address, highlighting how “Globalization 4.0, the Fourth Industrial Revolution, and our day-to-day lives are all influenced by the galloping pace of new technologies.”

“Multilateralism has helped to lift hundreds of millions of people out of poverty. But today we cannot afford any more to leave people behind,” concluded Schwab in his remarks. “We need a remobilization of globalization.”

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UNIDO and Italy further strengthen cooperation with focus on Africa and innovative partnerships

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The Director General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), LI Yong, spoke at the opening ceremony of the ‘International Cooperation Expo: job creation and innovation for sustainable development’ (EXCO 2019), which was organized under the patronage of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation, the European Commission and IFAD.

“I welcome the organization of the EXCO, as it is very clear that the ambitious goals of the 2030 Agenda cannot be achieved by one country or by one institution alone,” said Li. “Our experience shows that a multilateral approach, and particularly working in partnerships, is key to addressing these challenges.”

The UNIDO Director General then opened the UNIDO International Award Ceremony, ‘Innovative ideas and technology on agribusiness’, as well as the ‘EXCO 2019 Hackathon: solutions for sustainable development’, with both also taking place in the Fiera di Roma. Organized by the UNIDO Investment and Technology Promotion Office (ITPO) in Italy jointly with the Future Food Institute, the Award Ceremony invited submissions of the best technologies and the most innovative and sustainable worldwide solutions in the agriculture and agro-industry sectors.

“The role of UNIDO and in particular the interventions by our ITPO network to transfer new technologies and sustainable production models including investments are fundamental to overcome barriers and help countries achieve the goals of the 2030 Agenda,” said the UNIDO Director General. “Indeed, this award aims to support developing countries with innovative models to increase production in a sustainable manner and to build a resilient agribusiness environment.”

Li also met with Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Emanuela Claudia Del Re, to discuss scaling-up interventions in the agribusiness sector, including with long-standing private sector partners such as Illy Caffé, also how to benefit from the important expertise and interest of the Italian private sector. During their meeting, the Director General and the Deputy Minister also discussed opportunities to diversify the ongoing cooperation to new sectors of mutual interest, such as energy and the environment.

“The significant and vital relationships between UNIDO and the Italian Government for implementing development initiatives in the partner countries of the Italian Development Cooperation have been reviewed,” said Del Re. “From the Italian side, interest has been shown toward the new approach set by UNIDO in defining integrated projects with the private sector, such as the new initiative ‘UNIDO partnership model for de- risking investments in the Ethiopian coffee sector’.”

The UNIDO Director General also met Executive Vice President of ENI, Alberto Piatti, together with Director General of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Giorgio Marrapodi, to explore cooperation opportunities, notably in the field of applied research on energy as well as agro-value chains.

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Small Business in Kosovo to Gain Improved Access to Finance with World Bank Support

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The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors has approved the Kosovo Financial Sector Strengthening Project, to improve access to finance for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), including startups, young entrepreneurs and women-owned businesses, by strengthening the financial and technical capacity of the Kosovo Credit Guarantee Fund (KCGF). The financial support for the project is €22.3 million ($25 million equivalent).

“The World Bank is pleased to support Kosovo authorities’ efforts to increase access to finance and ultimately enhance private sector job creation,” said Marco Mantovanelli, World Bank Country Manager for Kosovo.

The project will provide funds through the Ministry of Finance to KCGF to issue credit guarantees to support access to finance to MSMEs. As these types of businesses dominate the real economy and the labor market, improving their access to finance will support job creation and economic growth. With a focus on the underserved and productive segments of the economy, the project has the potential to directly impact poverty reduction, especially among youth and women. Currently, some creditworthy MSMEs do not have access to finance due to high collateral requirements, lack of credit history, or lack of financial reporting. The project will focus on these firms along with improving financial terms for firms who already have access to finance. It also aims to crowd in private sector funds to financing MSMEs by providing support to the partial guarantee scheme.

The project will support KCGF to develop special products targeted to women-owned businesses, startups and young entrepreneurs and develop monitoring and evaluation framework to track financial and economic impact of beneficiaries of KCGF.

This initiative is financed with a credit from the International Development Association (IDA) of the World Bank Group. IDA credits are provided on concessional terms with zero or very low interest rates and long repayment periods. The financing for this project has a maturity of 30 years, including a 5-year grace period. The KCGF, a local, independent, sustainable, credit guarantee facility, will be responsible for the implementation of the project. KCGF enjoys full operational and administrative autonomy. It offers credit guarantees to Registered Financial Institutions on selected loans to MSMEs.

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ADB Marks International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia

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The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is marking the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia (IDAHOT) for the first time by hosting two events over 2 days at ADB headquarters in Manila.

“ADB supports LGBT+ inclusion within and outside its organization. We are committed to a diverse and inclusive workforce where everyone is treated with respect regardless of gender, nationality, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, physical ability, and thinking style. We recognize that the promotion and strengthening of diversity, inclusion, and equality at ADB is critical to our effectiveness as an organization,” said ADB President Mr. Takehiko Nakao.

On 16 May, IBM Philippines President and Country General Manager Ms. Aileen Judan-Jiao made a presentation on IBM’s programs and initiatives to foster a diverse and inclusive workplace for all employees, including for those from the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and related communities (LGBT+).

ADB hosted a panel discussion on 17 May, which brought together ADB experts and civil society representatives to discuss ways to promote the inclusion of LGBT+ communities in ADB operations. The panel members included civil society leaders from APCOM, the Asia Pacific LGBT+ health and rights organization, and Babaylanes, the Philippines LGBT+ student and youth organization. 

The inclusion of vulnerable groups in societies, including LGBT+ people, is critical to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable region, as envisioned in ADB’s Strategy 2030.

IDAHOT promotes inclusion and recognizes efforts to overcome the exclusion, discrimination, and violence that the LGBT+ community continues to experience in many parts of the world, including in Asia and the Pacific. IDAHOT recognizes the significant progress that has been made towards equality in many parts of the world. The date of 17 May was chosen to commemorate the World Health Organization’s decision in 1990 to declassify homosexuality as a mental disorder.

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