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Partnering to transform Lebanon: GCNL holds high-powered forum at AUB
10/10/2017
Jennifer Muller  |  Office of Advancement  |  media@aub.edu.lb  | 

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The United Nations Global Compact Network Lebanon (GCNL) held a multi-stakeholder forum at AUB on October 10, 2017. An over-capacity crowd gathered to share and discuss how the Lebanese public and private sectors have been working towards achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals 2030 and how the Global Compact Network Lebanon is helping. The GCNL national representative and associate dean at AUB’s Suliman S. Olayan School of Business (OSB), Dr. Dima Jamali, opened the forum and welcomed all participants.

The UN Global Compact was established in 2000 and encourages companies to align strategies and operations with ten overarching principles in the areas of human rights, labor rights, the environment, and anti-corruption. In 2016, the UN launched its 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which revolves around 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to transform the planet. The UN 2030 Agenda was signed by all 193 member nations, including Lebanon.

The UN Global Compact Network Lebanon (GCNL) was established in 2015 and has a two-fold mission: to help implement and advance the ten principles of the UN Global Compact as well as the 17 Sustainable Development Goals for 2030. AUB President Fadlo Khuri helped open the forum by talking about the need to work together to accomplish the 2030 Agenda.

“I believe that dialogue is the path forward, such that the challenges of sustainable development which seem so colossal today can be overcome. We must work together—academic institutions, public and private sectors, civil society, and the younger generation,” said President Khuri. “That is the only way we can advance the 2030 Agenda here: if the burden is genuinely shared by all, with common conversation towards a truly shared mission and vision,” he added.

The keynote speaker for the event was Phillipe Lazzarini, UN deputy special coordinator for Lebanon, UN resident and humanitarian coordinator, and UN Development Program resident representative. He also talked about the need to work together and how the private sector is an important part of these efforts.

“The success of Lebanon’s private sector, despite tremendous challenges you all encounter, and the entrepreneurial spirit of Lebanon’s small and medium sized businesses, is a clear demonstration of the country’s ability and potential,” said Lazzarini. “I’m convinced that such spirit of creativity can be applied to addressing the biggest challenges of our time both in Lebanon and around the world.” 

OSB is the secretariat of Global Compact Network Lebanon and OSB Dean Steve Harvey spoke at the forum’s opening about what has been accomplished thus far.

“By the numbers, we can see that in the two years of its existence, the network has been successful,” said Dr. Harvey. “It has been impressive and promising. Impressive in that 135 partners have joined the network… and promising in that many of these partners have had an enormous impact already in the areas to which they have committed.”

The forum continued with four sessions devoted to different aspects of the sustainable development agenda. The sessions focused on climate action as a priority for Lebanon; working across sectors in order to realize the SDGs; gender equality and women’s empowerment; and best practices for the “people” SDGs of health and education. High-level participants from the private sector and civil society participated in the panels along with numerous government officials. These included Minister of State for Women’s Affairs Jean Oghassabian, as well as representatives of the ministers of Energy and Water, Economy and Trade, and Education and Higher Education.

Dr. Jinane Chaaban, advisor to Minister of Education and Higher Education Marwan Hamadeh, represented him at the forum and discussed the ministry’s goals in relation to SDG #4: Quality Education.

“We need to ensure not only that every child goes to school, but that every single student has access to the quality of teaching and facilities required to reach his or her full potential,” said Chaaban. “In fact, the underlying sentiment of the goal is that we should put the most vulnerable first. This is how education can and should contribute to the central goal of SDG4: to put an end to poverty and disadvantage, once and for all,” she added.

The forum ended with a networking lunch and an announcement by the organizers that the hashtag #MySDG was currently trending on Twitter.
Story Highlights
  • ​​The United Nations Global Compact Network Lebanon (GCNL) held a multi-stakeholder forum at AUB on October 10, 2017. 
  • An over-capacity crowd gathered to share and discuss how the Lebanese public and private sectors have been working towards achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals 2030 and how the Global Compact Network Lebanon is helping. 
  • ​The GCNL national representative and associate dean at AUB’s Suliman S. Olayan School of Business (OSB), Dr. Dima Jamali, opened the forum and welcomed all participants.
 
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