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The Sustainable Economy Forum: Driving action to make SDG vision a reality

by Madaline Dunn

November will host a number of pivotal sustainability and climate summits in the UAE and beyond. One of these summits is the Sustainable Economy Forum (SEF), taking place on 6-7 November at the Centre International de Conférences, Algiers.

In collaboration with institutional partner CNESE, the event brings together key economic and political leaders to assess the progress made and address the challenges ahead in achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) across various sectors.

ESG Mena takes a look at what’s in store. 

The imperative to push forward SDG progress

The recent Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) summit in September was a wake-up call to the world on how little progress has been made since 2015, when UN member states first adopted the SDGs. 

As reported by ESG Mena, the most recent SDG Progress Report found that progress has been weak on a staggering 50 per cent of goals, while on 30 per cent, we’ve either stalled or gone into reverse. 

Indeed, as highlighted by the SEF, global carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels and cement reached a record high of 36.6 billion tonnes last year. And, although IEA head Dr Fatih Birol recently said we are witnessing “the beginning of the end of the fossil fuel era,” new oil and gas projects aren’t exactly slowing – despite warnings from bodies such as the IEA that this would risk jeopardising the 2050 net-zero goal. 

This is accompanied by the sobering declaration by UN Secretary-General António Guterres that we’ve now entered the era of “global boiling.”

Of course, alongside this, the COVID-19 pandemic has also had a significant and detrimental impact on many of the SDGs, eroding progress and pushing millions more into poverty. 

In light of these challenges and in a time of great uncertainty, the SEF shared that it seeks to “establish strong and practical mechanisms” to improve the standard of living for future generations.

Fostering collaboration

Hosted in Algiers, SEF explained that this symbolises the convergence of leaders from the “North” and “South” and called Algeria a strategic location for fostering collaboration and driving positive changes, between East and West.

The event will bring together influential leaders in sustainable development, alongside CEOs and industry leaders, who the SEF said can “contribute the most to economic model changes.”

The forum will evaluate their contributions to the SDGs and produce an annual report based on common metrics, it said.  

According to the SEF, these metrics will serve as a monitoring tool to track company activities and decisions, fostering dialogue and the exchange of best practices during the forum.

At the forum, which will explore everything from the circular economy and decarbonisation to renewable energy and financial inclusion, there will be four main activities. 

The conferences, which will feature keynote speeches, panels and public debates, will be held in the main auditorium, where participants will witness heads of state present their national strategies to meet global goals and listen to CEOs explain their roadmaps to improve their sustainability. 

Elsewhere at the event will be 17 workshops, one for every SDG, with one main topic defined for each goal, featuring company representatives, experts, and institutions.

The Sustainable Economy Forum will also offer stakeholders the opportunity to organise private meetings to discuss specific matters, whether that’s co-investments in sustainable projects or crisis management.

At the Solutions Village, meanwhile, innovators will unveil the latest concepts in sustainable development activities.

Aside from the above activities, there will also be the release of the annual Sustainable Economy Report, which is based on data collection, forum debates, and member assessments, which will serve as a barometer of corporations’ efforts to meet global goals.

The report will also feature contributions from experts in each topic covered by the forum, with strategic partners playing a central role in its development.

Joining forces to change models

Change requires that key representatives, leaders and corporations unite, share knowledge, improve practices and make progress. Indeed, the SEF outlined that the goal is to become a partner for corporations to improve their practices and help them become real players in global goals and achievements.

It shared that its institutional partners include co-organisers: The National Economic, Social and Environmental Council and National Institute for Global Strategy Studies; and ministries: Ministry of Industry, Ministry of Energy and Mining, Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Water, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Telecommunications, and Ministry of Agriculture, who all share the common goal of finding and applying best practices, in Algeria, and worldwide. 

Speaking about the event to ESG Mena, Mohamed Skander, founder of the Sustainable Economy Forum, said: “There are a lot of institutional initiatives for Climate, but we believe the main drivers of change are companies. The goal of the Sustainable Economy Forum is to gather those players who really think they can change our models”.

For more information about the Sustainable Economy Forum, visit

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