Launching of the 5th SR Asia International Conference in partnership with SR AsiaBangladesh INSPIRED Project

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Officials and experts from various related Ministries, Public Institutions, Women Associations, Private Sector Organisations and Research Institutes participated in the three-day, 5th SR Asia International Conference on “Implementation Challenges of SDGs and Business Competitiveness” which was held at the Auditorium of CIRDAP, on 21st of July 2016. The event was jointly organised by SR Asia Bangladesh and Bangladesh INSPIRED.

SR Asia International Conference is an annual international event organised by SR Asia to promote the latest initiatives, interventions and innovations in sustainability and social responsibility. It covers a wide range of issues, e.g. community development, labour practices, consumer issues, governance, environment, climate change and biodiversity, renewable energy, and sustainability reporting.

In November 2015, SR Asia introduced SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) through its Annual International Conference in Jakarta, Indonesia in association with NPO-Ministry of Industries, APO-Japan, UNCRD, UNGC, IPLA, AICON and Indonesia Business Council for Sustainable Development. This 2016 International Conference was the follow-up event to SR Asia International Conference 2015, Jakarta.

The primary objective of the 5thConference was to promote trends and practices in sustainability, such as for SMEs and community development, green productivity, new and renewable energy, environmental conservation, inclusive economy and poverty alleviation through business competitiveness and SME development. It also included identifying global and regional challenges to implementing the SDGs, establishing and strengthening the collaboration among the stakeholders from the Asian countries and how to promote and implement sustainability principles.

The event was chaired by Mr. MikailShipar, Secretary, Ministry of Labour and Employment,and the key speakers were Mr. Mario Ronconi, Minister Counsellor and Head of Cooperation,The Delegation of European Union to Bangladesh; and Mr. Ajit Kumar Paul, Director, National Productivity Organisation, Ministry of Industries. Panel discussants included Dr. Mahfuzul Haque, Former Secretary, Ministry of Labour & Employment;Mr. Md. Safiqul Islam, Managing Director, SME Foundation; Mr. Muhammad A. (Rumee) Ali, CEO, BIAC & Former Deputy Governor, Bangladesh Bank; Mr. Fazlul Haque, Former President, Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers & Exporters Association (BKMEA), Mr. Md. Ziaul Haque, Director (AQM), Department of Environment, Government of Peoples Republic of Bangladesh;Mr. Kazi Md. Shafiqur Rahman, Acting Executive Director, DCCI Business Institute (DBI);  Mr. Syed Ali Bin Hassan, Assistant Chief, Planning Commission, Ministry of Planning; Dr. SemerdantaPusaka, Country Director, SR Asia Indonesia;Ms. Shahamin S. Zaman, CEO, CSR Centre; Ms. GayatriSubramaniam, Chief Programme Executive, NFCSR-Head (IA Hub); Mr. Md. NurulAktar, CEO, Energypac Electronics Limited; Md. NurulAktar, CEO, Energypac Electronics Limited; and Ali Sabet, Team Leader,  INSPIRED Project. The key note speech was delivered by Mr. BirendraRaturi, International Director of SR Asia.

The Conferenceshared, discussed and deliberated on the challenges and opportunities that developing countries are facing with specific context to Bangladesh, India and Indonesia. The discussion helped in prioritising SDGs at industrial level, challenges of SMEs and poverty alleviation, responsible product development and export, financial inclusion and maximize compliances, Government initiatives and way forward. Thus, the deliberation has helped to conclude steps and recommendations for the stakeholders to practice sustainability in their respective fields.

The participants in the Conference concurred that the situation in situ must be taken into account and that the SDGs must be adopted and implemented according to the particular context, reality, issues and characteristics of the stakeholders and their surrounding environment. Moreover, it was stressed that PEOPLE, PROCESS and PARTNERSHIP should be considered as the three pillars for SDGs adoption and implementation.

Attainment of the SDGs would require a strong and effective institutional mechanism, the Conference concluded, involving all stakeholders including public representatives across the country, government and the bureaucrats, private sector, civil society, knowledge community, and development partners. While formulating the plan document, SDGs are supposed to be taken into consideration so that the global development agenda can be illustrated in the national plan.

Members of the press and television covered this event