The United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, has praised the UAE's leadership for supporting sustainable business practices. "I salute HH Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, UAE Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, for his vision as the Founding Patron of the Pearl Initiative. I also thank HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, for patronising this important joint forum with the Global Compact," Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General, United Nations said during his opening keynote video address to the Pearl Initiative and United Nations Global Compact Forum.
"This year is critical for people and the planet; we are aiming to adopt a new set of sustainable development goals and reach a meaningful, universal agreement on climate change. Business can drive progress but not just any business will do. Sustainable development requires principled business, and it requires strong corporate accountability. Good governance is vital, I hope the collaboration between Pearl Initiative and the Global Compact will help even more companies from the Gulf region to advance and progress," he added.
Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development and Honorary Chairman of the Pearl Initiative, has stressed the importance of good corporate governance to strengthen the UAE's global competitiveness.
Speaking at a recognition ceremony in Dubai following the inaugural Pearl Initiative and United Nations Global Compact Regional Forum held earlier that day under the patronage of HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, Sheikh Nahyan said: "Improving corporate accountability, transparency, and governance in the Gulf Region will help strengthen society. These measures will help foster future competitive economic growth, spur job creation, and enhance sustainable social development," Sheikh Nahyan said.
"Throughout our country, there is a strong conviction that we must work with both national and international organisations to guarantee the continued progress of our global-interconnected world. The Pearl Initiative and United Nations Global Compact Forum has helped propel us toward that goal," he added.
The Pearl Initiative and United Nations Global Compact Regional Forum was attended by more than 500 regional and international business leaders and representatives from UN organisations, government and civil society. The Forum included keynote address from Reem Al Hashimy, UAE Minister of State and Board Representative Higher Committee & Director General Bureau, Dubai Expo 2020 and Sir Mark Moody Stewart, President & Chairperson, Foundation for the UN Global Compact.
"Collaborations, such as the Pearl Initiative and the UN Global Compact are significant because they bring together governments and business to forge fundamental changes across the social spectrum in a way that advances human achievement." Al Hashimy, said during her keynote address.
During his welcome remarks, Badr Jafar, Founder of Pearl Initiative and Managing Director of the Crescent Group of Companies, said: "Corporate accountability matters; it builds trust, which in turn helps companies generate value and resilience, enabling them to grow. Growing companies create more jobs, stimulate economic activity, and provide new opportunities for entrepreneurs. All of this stimulates the economy as an ethical, transparent place in which to do business, creating a nucleus for foreign investment. And so the sustainable cycle continues."
The event highlighted the crucial role of the Private Sector in making progress towards regional competitiveness and the advancement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals during its opening plenary session.
The Forum also marked the launch of Pearl Initiative's report titled ‘Women's Careers in the GCC: The CEO Agenda', a culmination of in-depth surveys of over 600 businesswomen across the GCC Region, the results of which was discussed during the second plenary session. The panellists discussed the key findings of the report agreeing that diversity in the workplace provides a sustainable and dynamic competitive advantage to businesses and economies alike, and that the attitude of executives at the top of organisations is critical to women's advancement to executive positions.
Following the third plenary session about integrity and transparency, the Forum concluded with three parallel roundtable discussions: Integrity through the Value Chain; Governance and Transparency in Business and Civil Society; and Governance Matters in Family Firms.