We are confident that humanity can adapt to changing scenarios and that’s why change is possible. Just look back at 2020, a year that forced us indoors to adapt to the ‘new normal’.
On Earth Day, 22 April, Victor Kisob and Amir Dossal joined Forming Impact in discussing climate change and its impact on our habitat.
What better way to discover more about our habitat and innovation than sitting down – virtually – with stalwarts who’ve championed efforts for over 20 years?
Victor is the Deputy Executive Director of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme UN-Habitat. His experience spans across three decades of service in resources and project management, international affairs, policy, strategy, operations, knowledge management and partnerships.
"I think people are inculcating that notion of being responsible citizens when it comes to a global footprint," Victor said. He spoke about people’s changing behaviours, and stressed the importance of innovation and collaborative approaches that included public-private partnerships.
According to Victor, people are starting to do things differently – they’re making smarter decisions by being conscious of the impact their actions have on the environment and on climate change, whether it is living near workplaces to reduce commute times or utilising public transport, shopping for local produce or avoiding plastics, we are seeing lengthy strides being taken in the right direction.
And corporations too are making the shift by allowing flexible work arrangements that enable people to work from home, thereby reducing the need for large office spaces – a decision that’s benefiting cities and citizens bogged down by traffic and a lack of space.
While all the above transitions were well underway before 2020, the pandemic forced us to make quicker, more concrete decisions.
President and CEO of the Global Partnerships Forum, Amir said, "UN-Habitat’s innovation model is admirable, as it enables stakeholders to develop new solutions through public-private partnerships that can be replicated in countries around the world.
"Its approach encourages collaboration to invest in smart urbanisation and sustainable solutions."
Through experience, Forming Impact knows that partnering with private investors is needed to ensure a sustainable, innovative approach to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. The launch of the Forming Impact Investor Network (FIIN) will bridge the gap between private impact investors and development projects across the globe.
Through FIIN, the aim is to form partnerships that could lift countries out of poverty, protect the world’s oceans, safeguard our habitat, ensure communities get access to electricity and the internet, implement sustainable solutions for existing problems and prepare for challenges of the future.
Partnerships are important and a real example of their significance is Sir Richard Branson’s latest effort, 1000 Ocean Startups, a coalition of ocean lovers on a shared mission to scale companies that help regenerate the oceans. "This effort combines two of my great passions: igniting entrepreneurship and regenerating ocean health and sustainability," he said when announcing the initiative.
"This effort combines two of my great passions: igniting entrepreneurship and regenerating ocean health and sustainability." – Sir Richard Branson
Efforts to protect our environment will and must continue. In November this year, we will see various stakeholders from across the globe convene at the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow to accelerate action on the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework on Climate Change.
COP26 advocate Sir David Attenborough has spoken out about the importance of the upcoming conference, "It is crucial that these meetings in Glasgow have success, and that at last the nations will come together to solve the crippling problems that the world now faces."
The decisions made at COP26 will determine the actions taken in the coming years to protect the environment and conserve this vibrant habitat for future generations.
Forming Impact is committed to changing mindsets, bridging gaps and forming partnerships that will help COP26 realise its mission: ‘uniting the world to tackle climate change’.
Together, this generation can heal our habitat, and we must begin by first accepting that there is a problem. We must learn to unlearn unsustainable dependencies while finding unique, innovative solutions to the various challenges faced by nations, communities and individuals.