Image credit: UNESCAP - Photo: 2018

UNESCAP, Islamic Development Bank Sign Landmark Agreement

By Santo D. Banerjee

NEW YORK (IDN) – One of the world’s largest multilateral development banks, the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), has launched ‘Engage‘, a new digital platform which will promote technological and scientific solutions to accelerate progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

IsDB President Dr. Bandar Hajjar announced on February 21 the launch of the new platform at an event hosted at Bloomberg’s European Headquarters in London, together with UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), Dr. Shamshad Akhtar, Dr. Hayat Sindi, Chief Scientific Advisor to IsDB, and a group of business, innovation and development experts.

ESCAP News quoted Dr. Hajjar saying at the launch event: “There is a growing consensus around the need to innovate and collaborate across all sectors to help build capacity within countries to address their own development needs. Engage will provide the right tools and a supportive environment, so innovators and businesses can harness the great potential of science, technology and innovation as strategic drivers for economic growth among their local communities.”

The platform will focus on six SDGs, specifically working towards achieving greater food security, healthier lives, inclusive and equitable education, sustainable management of water, access to affordable and clean energy, and sustainable industrialisation across the developing world, ultimately helping to improve the lives of millions of people.

To ensure its members have access to financing for innovation, ESCAP News said, IsDB has established a new Fund – The Transform Fund – which will finance innovative ideas linked to development solutions. It will provide seed money for innovators, start-ups and SMEs, as well as funding partnerships between researchers and entrepreneurs that will tackle development challenges in line with the SDGs.

During the event, a landmark Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between IsDB and ESCAP. The two organisations committed to work together to build a global network of scientists, technologists, innovators, entrepreneurs and investors and to nurture and scale up high potential innovations to achieve sustainable and inclusive development.

ESCAP chief Dr. Akhtar said: “Engage and the Transform Fund will power the policy shifts needed for science, technology and innovation to have a positive impact, not just on our economy, but on our society and the environment. These initiatives will also spur a new era of open and collaborative innovation to ensure no country is left behind in the technological revolution.”

She added: “The partnership agreement between IsDB and ESCAP will bring together the skills and sources of capital needed to support innovation solutions for sustainable development.”

Dr. Sindi said: “Engage offers three main services: Match Making, Technology Transfer and Call for Innovation. Through Engage, innovators, SMEs, private sector companies, governments and NGOs will benefit from tailored mentoring services and expert knowledge-sharing that will help activate their ideas and proposals to an internationally recognised standard.”

Dr. Bandar continued: “We are grateful to our partner ESCAP for their support and look forward to collaborating with many more companies, entrepreneurs, investors, governments, academics and NGOs as we focus on the importance of investing in science, technology and innovation.” [IDN-InDepthNews – 25 February 2018]

Image credit: UNESCAP

IDN is flagship agency of the International Press Syndicate. –

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