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Mohammed Bin Rashid Initiative For Global Prosperity, UN-Habitat launch ‘Decade of Action Challenge’ to promote sustainable urbanisation

By JT - Nov 24,2021 - Last updated at Nov 24,2021

Erfan Ali, UN-Habitat’s Regional Director for the Arab States, and Namir Hourani, Managing Director of GMIS Head of the Global Manufacturing and Industrialisation Summit Organising Committee, pose for a photo during the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding on Wednesday (Photo courtesy of GMIS)

DUBAI — The Mohammed Bin Rashid Initiative for Global Prosperity (MBR Initiative) and the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) on Wednesday announced the launch of the “Decade of Action Challenge”, to promote sustainable and inclusive urbanisation through innovative solutions, partnerships and transformative ideas.

The two organisations signed a Memorandum of Understanding to support entrepreneurs and startups develop impactful solutions to address the key challenges of urbanisation and advance equitable economic development in cities, in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), according to a statement from the Global Manufacturing and Industrialisation Summit (GMIS).

The 10-year partnership was born as a result of the shared vision and long-standing association between the two organisations to make cities more prosperous while creating a global innovation ecosystem of social impact leaders made up of UN entities, governments, entrepreneurs, investors, philanthropists, academia and the private sector.

The Partnership was announced by Maimunah Mohd Sharif, Executive Director of UN-Habitat, followed by an MoU signed between Erfan Ali, UN-Habitat’s Regional Director for the Arab States and Namir Hourani, Managing Director of GMIS Head of the Global Manufacturing and Industrialisation Summit Organising Committee, during the Global Prosperity Conference at EXPO’s Dubai Exhibition Centre on November 24, 2021.

In a video message, the Executive Director of UN-Habitat Maimunah Mohd Sharif said: “While rapid urbanisation has transformed cities into engines of economic growth, they also present significant human development challenges, including pollution, poverty, income inequality and infrastructure development. Combatting the challenges of urbanisation and generating opportunities for prosperity requires bold ideas, cross-border and cross sector partnerships.”  

Reinforcing the importance of stimulating inclusive economic progress in cities, each cohort of the Decade of Action Challenge will operate in two-year cycles for a total of five cohorts to encourage startups and entrepreneurs to submit innovative solutions.

Both the Mohammed Bin Rashid Initiative for Global Prosperity and UN-Habitat will support the startups in designing and developing market-driven solutions that will be implemented in urban centres across the world through UN-Habitat’s global and country level networks.

Badr Al Olama, Head of the Global Manufacturing and Industrialisation Summit Organising Committee, said: “Digital innovation along with robust policymaking is essential to accelerate sustainable urbanisation and create new opportunities for shared prosperity. Advances in digital technology are rapidly pushing the boundaries of socio-economic development, providing governments, businesses and international organisations with innovative tools to build resilient communities.

“The partnership between UN-Habit and the Mohammed bin Rashid Initiative for Global Prosperity is a significant step towards building innovative cities of the future, as the world prepares for unprecedented levels of urbanisation over the next decade. I am delighted to launch the Decade of Action with UN-Habitat, and pull in entrepreneurial talent from around the world to help cities effectively respond to economic shocks, climate change, and improve competitiveness.”

The 10-year partnership was announced at the end of a session titled “The Decade of Action: A Countdown to Prosperity” that examined the role of public private partnerships, knowledge-sharing initiatives, and financing solutions to identify, nurture and scale impact-driven businesses.

 In attendance was Busi Mabuza, Chair of the Board at the Industrial Development Corporation for South Africa, Fadi Ghandour, Executive Chairman of Wamda, Ibrahima Guimba-Saidou, CEO of National Agency for Information Society (ANSI), Vilas S. Dhar, President of the Patrick J. McGovern Foundation.

The Global Prosperity Conference was held during the six-day GMIS Week from November 22-27 at EXPO’s Dubai Exhibition Centre, featuring over 250 global speakers.


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