On 28 March 2019, the first SDG Impact Investment Forum in Belarus opened in Minsk. The Forum brought together representatives of the government, business community, international development partners, social enterprises, investment agencies, financial institutions, and a number of international experts in social impact investing.
The meeting is initiated by the United Nations Development Programme in the Republic of Belarus with assistance from the National Coordinator on implementation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), the Ministry of Economy of Belarus, and the National Development Bank of Belarus.
The main goal of the Forum is to give impetus to social impact investment growth and contribute to more active engagement of business community in SDG achievement in the Republic of Belarus.
Opening statements were made by Marianna Shchetkina, the National Coordinator on SDG implementation and Deputy Chairman of the Council of the Republic of the National Assembly of Belarus, Joanna Kazana-Wisniowiecki, UN Resident Coordinator in Belarus, Dmitry Yaroshevich, Deputy Minister of Economy of the Republic of Belarus, and Andrei Zhishkevich, Chairman of the Board of the National Development Bank of Belarus.
Addressing the Forum participants Kazana-Wisniowiecki touched on the issue of financing sustainable development goals and underlined the crucial role of private business enterprises in sustainable development of Belarus.
«We have to understand that the world, private and public sectors, has agreed on a common approach: we need to switch from funding development that is, simply transferring resources from a financial contributor to a recipient to financing development, that is, structuring investments with sustainability in mind and ensuring that different financial flows – not only development aid, work together to achieve a common result”, – stressed the UN Resident Coordinator.
International experts from Great Britain, Germany, Russia, and Finland shared experience of creating a favourable ecosystem for impact investing in their countries.
The Forum has become a platform for presentation of investment proposals in accordance with four accelerators of sustainable development recommended for Belarus by the United Nations Organisation and approved by the government, namely green transition towards inclusive and sustainable growth, future generation orientation, digital transformation and social innovations, and gender equitable society.
Investment proposals have been developed with due regard to the country context featuring both potential social and ecological impact and possible return on investment for businesses.
Sustainable development goals not only specify framework conditions for activities of the government, but also offer huge investment opportunities, new markets, and new sources of income for businesses.