People and Planet: Financial Inclusion for Social Inclusion
Globethics.net was invited to take part alongside other institutions in the Seminar of Experts on 20-21 September 2018 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The Seminar, organised by the National Bank of Argentina (BNA) together with United Nation Development Programme (UNDP) and the Institute for the Integration of Latin America and the Caribbean (INTAL-IADB), was planned in preparation for the G-20 Summit in Buenos Aires from 26 November to 1 December 2018.
Globethics.net's Executive Director, Obiora Ike delivered a speech on impact investments for communities, in which he addressed the ethical imperatives for finance, inclusivity and society towards building a more peaceful human ecology.
The seminar was also attended by Globethics.net Regional Programme Executive in South America, Deivit Montealegre.
According to the concept note issued by the organisers, the main obstacle to a successful implementation of the 2030 Agenda (the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals) is the growing inequality and poverty fueled by the curren financial and macroeconomic model. The link between finance and human development is seriously damaged. No social activity can or should be 'demonized', finance being no exception. Nevertheless, an integrated approach to development requires working on social and environmental issues together.
According to Pope Francis, it seems that not many lessons have been learned from the latest financial crisis. Has the crisis convinced people in the financial sector that the market by itself cannot guarantee true progress, meaning integral human development and social inclusion? (cf. LS 109)
In the twenty-first century, the transnational financial sector has become more powerful than many nation states (cf. LS 175). This favours scenarios where political decisions are influenced by or even subjected to finance and to its own paradigm, not always aligned with the common good and with the service of life (cf. LS 189). This financial domination over politics could also instill in the political realm the false perception that the development that needs to be pursued is that of "unlimited growth". "Sustainable Finance" requires managing the environmental, social, economic and ethical dimensions simultaneously.
Sustainable and responsible investors are needed, ones who are committed to showing awareness of the existence of serious situations of injustice, instances of profound social inequality and unacceptable conditions of poverty affecting communities and entire peoples and the desire to address them. There is good news: there is significant growth in the number of investors who use their resources to promote the economic and social development of marginalized groups through investments funds.
These investors aim to satisfy basic needs associated, for example, with access to water, adequate housing, primary health care, social protection, decent work and educational services.
There are good examples in finance that keep our hope alive. Some investors want to respond to the social inequality and ecological degradation they are witnessing. In addition, they want to do it not merely through works of charity or philanthropy, but also through, for instance, the investment and financing of renewable energy; or by investing in new sustainable agro-businesses to cope with global food security. "Banking on Values" promoting social inclusion will focus on mobilising financial resources and channeling savings to companies, organizations, projects and infrastructure contributing to the implementation of climate agreements and SDG ´s.
The Seminar of Experts aims to deepen the debates and proposals around these issues and contribute to offer the best ways and instruments to strategise new actions and partnerships to create a virtuous circle by which financial products and services are better align protecting the planet, at the service of the human person, especially those who are marginalised and discarded.