The following speech was delivered at the 72nd United Nations General Assembly by IIX founder Durreen Shahnaz to launch the Innovative Finance for Sustainable Peace Initiative. The 5-year initiative leverages the power of financial markets to unlock $1 billion to drive forward sustainable peacebuilding efforts across the globe by creating systemic social-economic resilience.
IIX and Shujog work together to help Impact Enterprises (IEs) across Asia become investment-ready by conducting on-the-ground impact assessments and providing technical assistance to help IEs raise capital to scale. In 2016, IIX & Shujog traveled to the field to support 13 IEs across five countries. Follow us as we recap the year through a photo journal that captures some of our favourite moments from our visits to incredible IEs throughout the region!
For centuries, Asia has been fragmented by conflict over divided beliefs (religious violence), divided borders (wars over territories), divided power (battles for resources). Governments, politicians and donor agencies often have peacebuilding as their number one agenda, taking a top-down approach and repeatedly asking: ‘How can we resolve conflict? How can we accelerate recovery? How can we avoid the next World War?’
A few weeks ago, we asked our readers to send us images that captures the meaning of “resilience”. We were moved by the response, with over 50 entries that evoked aspects of resilience that we hadn’t even anticipated! The following five photos were selected for the moments of resilience captured in the lives of people and the spaces they live in.
Two billion hectares of degraded land worldwide – an area larger than South America – are currently available for rehabilitation.
Nearly 500 million hectares of two billion hectares of degraded land worldwide is abandoned agricultural land. An additional 12 million hectares of land are degraded every year by human activities. The Global Mechanism (GM) is a financial mechanism of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification that supports countries to mobilize financial resources and increase investments in sustainable land management, helping reverse, control and prevent desertification, land degradation and drought.
As a child, Sharon (not her real name) underwent a traumatic experience, which led to her general ambivalence and pessimistic outlook towards life. Upon participating in the Equine-Assisted Learning (EQUAL) programme in Singapore, she shares her change with us below:
“In the past, I didn’t care about a lot of things. But now, I feel like I care for horses. This proves to me that I can care about something… I feel like I am in the sky while riding.”
“Throughout our history the deal was: We left the world a better place than we found it. That was progress. The wheel. The Rule of Law. Anything.” – From the film ‘The Age of Stupid’
To me that was exactly what getting involved in impact investing was all about – to ‘put my money where my mouth is’ and do something to better the world. Of course, this is a figurative statement, since I am not wealthy. But then impact investing shouldn’t only be for millionaires and above. Impact investing involves a lot more than just giving money to some passionate social entrepreneur to do the work. We can all contribute, no matter what social, political or monetary capital we possess. Perhaps the most valuable asset we can all invest is time, which is the one thing that makes us all equal. We all have limited time, so spending time on something that enriches the lives of others is perhaps more meaningful than just spending money on yourself.