UN ASG and Chief Economist Elliott Harris speaks on the role of sustainable investments in helping boost crisis recovery

22nd April – UN Assistant Secretary-General (ASG) for Economic Development and Chief Economist Elliott Harris spoke in an online webinar organised by Global Compact Network Malaysia (GCMY). The topic of the webinar was “Investing in Sustainability: Competitive Advantage for Crises Recovery”, in which ASG Harris spoke about how the Covid-19 crisis has led to an unprecedented global shock in demand, the necessity to create an international safety net to help resource-poor countries deal with the pandemic, and how post-crisis recovery is ripe time for nations to implement policies pivoting towards sustainable development.

The webinar was moderated by Nadiah Hanim Abdul Latif, and was attended by about 400 attendees, comprising of corporate executives, NGO representatives, and government officials from Malaysia, Singapore and Australia.

The insightful session started out with ASG  Harris outlining that sustainability needs all components to be working together for well-functioning, and how the crisis is impacting supply chains that it requires foresighted leadership.

He mentioned the ensuing economic and financial crisis as a result of the shock cycle, and how savvy leadership is required to think 2 steps ahead to close the loop, quell the immediacy of retrenchment and make sure the bottom line is met. The pandemic will affect some of us differently; with smaller entities such as countries, SMEs, and micro-entrepreneurs finding it more difficult hence the necessity for all of us to come together vis a vis SDG 17 and leave no one behind.

Another key theme of the webinar was that of responsible consumption (SDG 12), and how businesses can leverage from key lessons to learn from the crisis and plan better ahead not only for them to thrive and sustain but to also lessen the impact on the environment.

He ended his presentation by addressing the dire need to reduce inequalities during the crisis through social protection systems to ensure that whose who have lost their jobs and livelihoods be supported by a safety net created and sustained by governments and the private sector.

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