Global Investment in Sustainable Development - 5th CC Forum held in Dubai
8 April 2021
The 5th iteration of the CC Forum “Global Investment in Sustainable Development” was held in-person in Dubai on March 31 and April 1, 2021. CC Forum has grown, in a very short time, into a leading platform where “governments present their innovative new strategies; where inspirational scientists relay to the world their revolutionary discoveries; where large corporations and small companies alike make global announcements, and where the brightest start-ups connect to the savviest of investors”.
The stated goal of this edition was to explore the challenges, prospects and business opportunities during and after the COVID-19 pandemic, which has triggered the worst economic, social and humanitarian crisis in recent times.
The CC Forum offered a much-needed platform for thought leaders, practitioners, senior UAE government officials, public figures and entrepreneurs from across the world to discuss, rethink and brainstorm out-of-the-box ideas for the benefit of the planet, humanity and future generations. This is, after all, a critical year for our planet – with COP26 taking place later this year in Glasgow, the “world’s last best chance” to avert the worst environmental consequences derived from climate change.
As Albert Einstein once said, “in the midst of every crisis, lies great opportunity”. Indeed, this crisis can and should be considered as a catalyst for rethinking the world’s paradigm and discuss new ways of investing in sustainability.
To this end, the CC Forum, during two intensive days of discussions, brainstormed specific pathways to make the post-COVID recovery period green, digital, inclusive and sustainable – so that we collectively do not lose sight of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.
The experience of the host country, the United Arab Emirates, can show us the path forward and be a source of inspiration for the world. A dynamic hub of innovation and new technologies, the UAE is putting substantial efforts into integrating the environmental dimension of sustainable development into post-pandemic recovery plans. In the words of Mr Qais Al Suwaidi, Director of the Climate Change Department at the UAE Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, “Covid-19 should catalyse the transition towards a resilient and inclusive green economy – not slow it down”.
What was clear from the different panel discussions is that for investors, entrepreneurs and multinational companies alike, the relentless search for profit has to be complemented with a wider agenda which includes environmental and social concerns, and a strong focus on Corporate Social Responsibility. Emerging technologies (Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence, etc) can also play a very central role in helping humanity resolve the existential issues we face today.
The second day of the forum was held under the theme “The Middle East: The Big Reset”. The CC Forum was one of the very first high-level in-person conferences organised following the historical signature of the Abraham Accords in Washington last August which marked the public normalization of relations between Israel and a number of Arab countries including the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. One of the focal points of day 2 of the CC forum was to explore the burgeoning investment opportunities between the UAE and Israel deriving from this historic political accord. The existing synergies between UAE’s dynamic economy, and Israel’s innovative high-tech culture, can be now fully pursued in the form, for example, of partnership and joint ventures in the field of technology and through various sectoral applications (such as agriculture).
Other thematic panels were devoted to the energy transition the transition from fossil fuels to green energy (including green hydrogen); sustainable urbanization, women empowerment, and the role of special economic zones in fast-tracking regional cooperation, generate employment and support knowledge transfer.
The next two editions of CC Forum will take place this year under the High Patronage of HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco on 6-7 July in Monaco back to back with the Cannes film festival and in October in London less than a few weeks before COP26. These will further build on the theme of Investment in Sustainable Development in order to keep the momentum alive as we approach the crucial Glasgow summit.