Islamic social funding to support recovery and reconstruction efforts after COVID-19 pandemic – World
New York-Jeddah-Beirut, May 11, 2021“The United Nations and the Islamic Development Bank today launched an initiative to help fundraising efforts better recover as the world continues to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
Coming at a time when global health and the economic crisis have pushed millions of people into extreme poverty, Islamic social finance has the potential to provide urgent support for poverty reduction, economic recovery, response to the pandemic and sustainable development.
“Standing in solidarity with those in need means exploring how Islamic social finance can support the response to the pandemic through the ACT-Accelerator and its COVAX facility, as well as other initiatives and vehicles to ensure access. equitable to vaccines, diagnostics and therapies, ”said Ms. Amina Mohammed, United Nations Deputy Secretary-General, in her opening statement.
According to the latest United Nations economic forecast released today, the economic recovery, despite modest progress from 2020, remains at risk amid the surge in COVID-19 cases and the delay in vaccination in the worst countries. poor, widening inequalities and delaying progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals. (SDGs) – the global action plan to secure a better future for all by 2030.
The only vaccine equity mechanism in the world, COVAX, led by the World Health Organization (WHO), GAVI and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), in partnership with the United Nations Children’s Fund ( UNICEF), has so far shipped nearly 60 million COVID-19 vaccines to more than 120 participating countries, as part of an unprecedented global vaccine deployment. COVAX still needs US $ 2.8 billion to meet its goal of ending the acute phase of the pandemic by the end of the year.
The initiative will include the International Dialogue on the Role of Islamic Social Finance in Achieving the SDGs, which will launch critical discussions, including with world leaders and Islamic institutions, on the role of Islamic social finance.
“As the world faces the obvious fragility of our socio-economic systems, especially during the current pandemic, the tools of Islamic social finance offer an opportunity to usher in much needed resilience,” said Mr. Bandar Hajjar, the president of Islam. Development Bank Group, emphasizing the importance of the International Dialogue on the Role of Islamic Social Finance.
“I’m convinced that zakat, sadaqa, waqf and Islamic microfinance can help take a grassroots, inclusive and more resilient approach to development, and I look forward to working with our partners at the United Nations to integrate these tools to meet urgent needs and achieve the SDGs. ”, he added.
In addition, Mr. Hajjar confirmed the Bank’s full alignment on the importance of leveraging social finance to mitigate the effects of the raging pandemic, including the production of COVID-19 vaccines for developing countries. and the least developed countries.
Use traditional instruments such as zakat (compulsory handouts amounting to around $ 300 billion per year), sadaqa (charitable donations) and waqf (endowments and trusts), as well as microfinance instruments such as qard hassan (benevolent loans), Islamic social finance remains an essential financing mechanism, based on the values of faith and inclusion, in line with the goals of the SDGs aimed at promoting social trust, cooperation and solidarity in the fight against poverty and hunger.
“As we seek to overcome financial constraints, funding gaps and funding inequalities, we believe that Islamic social finance, itself based on the principles of equity and justice, can open avenues to stimulate ‘economic activity and promote social well-being, financial inclusion and shared prosperity, ”said Ms. Rola Dashti, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA).
“By using the modern tools of the fourth industrial revolution, including blockchain, fintech and artificial intelligence, we can better manage zakat, awqaf and Islamic microfinance, ”she added, calling on the International Dialogue to explore the possibility of establishing a zakat, waqf and sadaqa funds to support immediate emergency relief for the most vulnerable and longer term poverty eradication.
“The launch of this dialogue during Ramadan underlines the importance of helping those in need. It has never been more important to come together in solidarity to achieve the SDGs and mitigate the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, ”said Mr. Ahmed Al Meraikhi, Special Adviser to the United Nations Secretary-General.
The International Dialogue will consist of a series of virtual seminars running until November 2021, facilitated by the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR). The seminars will bring together Islamic social finance institutions, academics and experts, international humanitarian and development systems and other stakeholders to foster a better understanding of both Islamic social finance and existing platforms and initiatives. of ONU.
The expected outcomes of the International Dialogue also include a report on mobilizing Islamic social finance to achieve the SDGs; the creation of a knowledge repository and e-learning modules on the subject at UNITAR; and a roadmap with concrete recommendations on the way forward, contributing to the Financing for Development initiative in the COVID-19 era and beyond.
“This partnership between the UN and the Islamic Development Bank will help realize the potential of Islamic social finance to support humanitarian efforts and achieve the SDGs in these difficult times,” reiterated Mr. Mahmoud Mohieldin, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General of the United Nations. United Nations for financing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.