AMMAN — UN Jordan on Tuesday brought dozens of business leaders together to “create market opportunities for a sustainable world” at the 17 Jordan forum, which explored ways to mobilise private capital towards the achievement of all 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the Kingdom.
Launched in partnership with the Good Capital Project, and funded by the government of Canada, the forum aimed at developing a roadmap to build capacity, pool knowledge and prioritise investments focused on the SDGs, with working sessions facilitated by regional and international experts who look at Jordan as “a model to advance job creation, livelihoods and sustainable economic growth”, according to a statement by UN Jordan.
UNDP Jordan Country Director Sara Ferrer-Olivella, Ambassador of Canada to Jordan Peter Mac Dougall, Managing Director of the Refugee Investment Network Timothy Docking and Minister of State for Investment Affairs Muhannad Shehadeh were some of the experts facilitators present at the forum, along with several specialists in the field of economy and finance.
During the opening of the forum, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Jordan Anders Pedersen highlighted that “in Jordan, getting financing right will be critical in order to meet the SDGs — an endeavor in which the UN and its partners are supporting the Jordanian government by strengthening capacity to monitor and evaluate progress”.
“17 Jordan goes beyond obtaining additional resources, as it points towards a new emphasis on innovation, policy experimentation and international and national experience sharing aimed at finding new dynamism in financing for development,” Pedersen continued, noting that several investors and private sector companies are already starting to align their business practices, with the total impact investment portfolio estimated at $114 billion and growing.
“Building on the Jordanian government’s priorities, our [UN’s] focus will be on understanding where the greatest needs and potentials are for financing, and to identify investments that have the greatest potential for accelerating progress towards the achievement of the SDGs,” the official concluded.
The forum kick-started with a discussion on the future of investing in Jordan, followed by a session on targeted SDG investments, with four working groups identifying opportunities for pipeline development.
The creation of a national urban transportation system, renewable energy businesses based in solar and wind power, and the application of technology in irrigation farming were some of the most supported business solutions to the challenges posed by the SDGs in Jordan, according to participants.
The forum concluded with sessions focused on financial innovation, potential partners for investment, their preferences and the lessons learnt from previous deals, in addition to civic engagement and the means to generate opportunities for women and youth.
“Today’s 17 Jordan Forum presents an important quest to maximise finance for development by mobilising the private sector, but we are only at the start of the designing initiatives stage, and this is just the beginning of a journey that will be followed by several milestones to be achieved together,” Ferrer-Olivella said, briefing the audience on the steps to be taken towards the 2019 Investment Conference in London.
An ideation stage is expected to take place during the month of September, where stakeholders will continue to explore partnerships aimed to build the 17 Jordan community, followed by a four-month outreach campaign targeting strategic investors.
[Story by Ana V. Ibáñez Prieto - The Jordan Times, August 28, 2018]