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KW23_GE_UNGlobalCompact_Raba Al Junaa_PORTRAIT

KUWAIT - Green Economy

Rabaa Hussain Makki AlJuma

Kuwait & Qatar Country Manager, UN Global Compact

Bio

Rabaa Hussain Maki AlJuma is the Chief Editor & CEO of Bariq Al Dana magazine and was appointed Country Manager of Kuwait & Qatar of the UN Global Compact in January 2022. She also serves as the UN senior stakeholder’s advisor (UN Resident Coordinator Office) in Kuwait. She studied medicine at Kuwait University and completed her fourth year of medicine at the Arabian Gulf University in Bahrain during the Gulf invasion. AlJuma also studied a course in sociology in the University of Lebanon. She has also completed the ICRC IHL Regional Arabic Course in humanitarian law and a postgraduate course of the Executive Master of Advanced Studies in international law in armed conflict. She also acquired a master’s of international law in armed conflict from Geneva Academy in Switzerland.

“When it comes to the region, our Global Compact local network advances the initiative and its 10 principles at the country level.”
The UN Global Compact is working to galvanize the local business community to make important changes in line with global movements to improve the state of the world and the quality of life overall.
What is the mandate of the UN Global Compact?

We are active in 177 countries. The United Nations Global Compact was launched in 2000 by former Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who reached out to a group of CEOs about coming together to initiate a Global Compact of shared values and principles: to give a human face to the global market. Forty companies and their CEOs signed up to create what is now known as the UN Global Compact. They devised a set of principles or values, forming the basis upon which responsible businesses would operate. These principles covered human rights, labor, environment, and anti-corruption. They lay at the heart of the Global Compact. All participating companies of the UN Global Compact commit to applying those criteria and embed the principles into their business strategy and operations. When it comes to the region, our Global Compact local network advances the initiative and its 10 principles at the country level, either for Kuwait or Qatar, and helps companies understand what responsible business means. We do so within the context of diverse national cultures, law, and language, and facilitate outreach learning policy dialogues. We also foster the connection between different businesses, stakeholders, NGOs, governments, and communities. They are able to put their sustainability commitment into action with the support of our guidance. The initial step is to sign a letter of commitment, which declares alignment of their strategy and operations with the 10 principles of the UN Global Compact.

What is the process, and why should companies participate?

The application to the Global Compact is submitted online. After that, comes an important component—the Communication on Progress (CoP) framework—considered the DNA of the Global Compact. It is perhaps this element that makes certain companies hesitate. While the CoP has many positives, it may expose a few things that companies still lack in their strategy. For example, a company may implement and report its ESG, yet be reluctant to apply because it reported not having any women on their board of directors, which would not align with the gender equality category. I recommended that they apply, whereupon we will guide them through any weaknesses as they progress. While they may not align this year, they will the next. There are many goals to be achieved through our new CoP, and the only way to progress is to start. Whenever a company enlists, we send them a toolkit with all the information and guidance they should need to follow through. Moreover, our platform will be open for them, and they will be connected with peers from government, UN at global and national level, other organizations and companies. Moreover, they can join our academy to interact with accelerators and think labs to enhance their developments. Their employees can join in too, so they can see the areas that require work and act upon them. It will take some time to succeed and go through all the changes involved; however, the sooner they start, the better prepared they will be for the future. ESG policies will soon become required, and for that, there is no better way than to start working toward them today.

What progress has been made by the UN Global Compact in Kuwait and Qatar so far?

We have only recently started. We are in the process of establishing our local network and recruiting companies. We organize events and raise awareness on how this program and our platform can help them. Many companies that have already joined are still rather confused about the whole process, which is why our assistance and advisory is so important for their progress. There is a lot of work to be done; however, I am certain our impact will rapidly grow. We are heading toward that tipping point, and with the enthusiasm of both the Qatari and Kuwaiti communities, the UN Global Compact will soon reach major milestones at the local level.

 

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