A call for commitment, action and innovation

The first day of the Social Innovation and Global Ethics Forum hosted officials, organizations, entrepreneurs and personalities, all committed to shaping a better tomorrow.
Marrakesh, November 9, 2016 — “Shaping better times to come.” The tagline of SIGEF 2016 is a statement that goes along with the call to action message of COP22. On the first day of at the Palais de Congrès Marrakesh, real-life experiences were among an audience of officials, organizations, students and holders of innovative solutions.

The opening ceremony of SIGEF highlighted one of the strongest values of Horyou: diversity. Alongside Yonathan Parienti, founder of Horyou, were Yasuhiro Yamamoto, Vice-President of Eneco Holdings and Founding Sponsor of SIGEF, HRH Prince Nawaf bin Saad al Saud, Chairman of the Saudi al-Hilal football club, H.E. Mrs. Rosalie Matondo, Minister of Forestry Economy, Sustainable Development and Environment of the Republic of Congo, Dr Ali Bin Samikh Al Marri, Chairman of the Human Rights Commission of Qatar. “We are immensely pleased to host such a richly diverse assembly of entrepreneurs, officials and organizations who, together with Horyou, are supporting COP22 and the UN Sustainable Development Goals”, stressed Yonathan Parienti in his opening speech.

As for the topics that were addressed by the speakers and panels on that first day, access to health services and drinkable water in developing areas, innovative African agriculture and new trends in the private sector to accelerate sustainability, underscored the scope of the challenges that the African continent is faced with, in times of climate change and its impact on environmental and social conditions. All panels were inspiring in that they put together positive experiences and constructive ideas promoted by passionate entrepreneurs and tireless activists.

In Mrs. Rosalie Matondo’s words, “the COP in Marrakesh is a very important moment because it talks about action. We need to act in order to sustainably manage the forests in the basin of Congo and to provide water to its population”, she stated. The main challenge, however, is funding, which is why the government of Republic of Congo is launching a “blue fund” to gather international aid and to finance reforestation and sustainable management projects.
Access to water is a human right. We hope the COP22 sensibilize more people to develop projects that are focused on water issues”. 
M. Ali Bin Samikh Al Mari
Chairman, Human Rights Commission of Qatar

The panels “Expanding Health Services in Africa” and “Drinkable Water as a Human Rights” discussed the opportunities the continent has to explore, despite the limitations. Alessia Clemente, Policy Analyst for the Italian Presidency of the Council of Ministers, called for customized solutions, stressing that “ideas are welcome, but each country has particularities that should be respected”. For the CEO of the Morrocan Foundation for Advanced Science, Innovation and Research,Dr. Hicham Bouzekri, that access to health services in Africa should be seen from a different perspective and not through the eyes of “western disdain “. “The new frontier for Africa is technology, but we must apply it in products that actually fit in the African Market and are not only imported or replicated from elsewhere”, he affirmed. “Innovation is a matter of a case by case approach”.

Later that day, access to land, innovation and sustainable farming in Africa were the main topics of a panel that showcased authors, organizations and state-of-the-art business cases. Inaugurating the session, Mrs. Ismahane Elouafi, Director General of the ICBA – International Center for Biosaline Agriculture NGO, warned that innovation is a misconception that is not only concerned with high-tech processes, but also business models and social networks and voiced her strong belief that “the future of farming is in Africa”, and that “we can make it different and in our own way”.

She was followed by IFOAM Organics International and Organics Consumers Association who presented hopeful prospects of organic agriculture with its social and economic outcomes on climate change in a panel on “Climate Smart Agriculture”.

Finally, the role of women in innovative farming was explored by Mrs. Mildred Crawford, UN Women Civil Society Advisor. “They don’t have enough access to land and to capital, but when are given a chance to innovate, women come with outstanding and highly effective projects”, she stated while presenting a university contest that she initiated in the Caribbean and that saw many female leaderships emerge. Bill Karsell, chair of the Climate Sensibilization Board of Trustees, questioned on his part the accountability methods of greenhouse gas emissions and defended the position that countries should be more aware of the imminent risks of climate change. He brought nonetheless a hopeful message that innovative agriculture can play a vital role on coping with the alarming environmental prospects.

The UN Sustainable Development Goals call all stakeholders to act: public sector, youth, NGOs and private companies. The idea that CSR is now more than a trend but a profitable and effective reality was proudly shared during the last plenary session of the day. Dr. Nasser Kettani, National Technical Officer from Microsoft, opened told about his experience of a rural community in Africa that had access for the first time to internet. The initiative has opened education and innovation opportunities to young students. As a representative of the public sector, the Minister of Urbanism and National Land Settlement of Morocco, Mr. Driss Merroun, talked about the environmental commitments of his country and the need to apply clean biotechnology in order to ensure human rights and to promote an inclusive and viable economy.

The “Circular Economy and Waste Management” panel addressed the successful cases of Kilimanjaro Environment in Morocco, which created technology to turn the transformation of used edible oil into a cleaner carburant into a viable solution, and of INBAR, which works with bamboo and rattan as raw material for the construction, transportation and medical industries.

The panelists agreed Elijah Ezendu, CEO of Idova Group, that “CSR is not charity”, and saw a long way full of opportunities. In their opinion, government policies can help, and the COP22 is regarded with hope and optimism, and the youth, the organizations and civil society have a critical role to play.

Projects and Organisations
Two dedicated spaces welcomed innovative projects and organizations that are part of Horyou platform, many of them from Morocco. The NGOs showcased their programs and had the opportunity to be acknowledged by the public formed by other organizations, entrepreneurs and potential investors. The projects, with a strong innovation and social impact approach, participated of networking and assessment sections. They will be evaluated by a jury during the SIGEF. The selected projects will be awarded in a ceremony on the 11th of November.

Contacts médias:
Vivian Soares, Horyou Media Relations
+41 (0) 22 321 98 20
Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInEmail this to someone