Workshop 1 / GRM 2024
Sustainable Development Financing and the Role of the Financial Sector in the GCC Region


The magnitude of the issues the world has been experiencing, both economically and environmentally, has reached such levels which require urgent action to ensure human security. Therefore, the urgency of sustainable development is no longer a niche topic but has become part of global morality as expressed in various international initiatives such as SDGs. As part of such initiatives, the November 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow sought to devise compelling initiatives to combat the climate crisis. Later in 2022, a follow-up conference on this issue convened to discuss a global biodiversity framework. Exploitative production and excessive consumption habits as the norms of the market economy have resulted in catastrophic environmental, financial, and socioeconomic impacts. Despite the enormous capital and financial gains and movements, poverty remains a pressing issue; exclusion and disenfranchisement of the impoverished remain critical challenges in the 21st century, while climate change due to such products and consumption patterns affects every corner of the world.The institutionalisation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) paradigm by the United Nations (UN), which has become part of national public policy in many countries, including in the GCC, stands as an official declaration of the unacceptable economic and financial behaviour of individuals, firms, and corporations which have caused enormous disruption to natural and human life. The call for integrating sustainability and the interests of all the stakeholders in all economic and financial decision-making has been the central discourse and policies of many NGOs over the years, which has now been taken up by multilateral organisations led by the declaration of SDGs by the UN.SDGs have taken a crucial step by binding all the countries globally and universalizing the expectations of sustainable development beyond the developing country focus of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Therefore, global mobilization for 17 goals, 169 targets and 232 indicators of SDGs, including climate change issues, has become the leading global policymaking issues in recent years. The nature of current challenges requires organised, structural, and international mobilization beyond nation-state solutions. Despite certain controversies among the targets, as part of the global mobilization, most UN member countries have become party to the SDGs and incorporated them in their public policy as a vital and positive sign for change. In addition, national governments and international agencies have also initiated motivating strategies for their corporate and financial sector for sustainable practices and also generating the necessary financing to fill the financing gap.While the financial sector has always been an essential instrument of prosperity and development throughout history, in recent years, the growth and movement of capital within the financial sector have become objectives in their own right rather than instruments for facilitating economic activity, growth, and development as identified by the increasing financialization. The financial sector has consequently expanded through artificial products and mechanisms, resulting in further disconnection from the real economy and producing unsustainable practices.The growing asymmetry between the real economy and the financialised economy indicates the unsustainable nature of the global economy – World GDP was only 8.3% of the total financial assets in 2019, showing the enormous pressure exerted on the resources in the world. Moreover, banks and financial institutions have created demand far beyond the reasonable level through their lending and financing channels. The results are twofold: strain on global resources and an escalation of the environmental crisis. Further, increased access to finance is not translating into equitable resources for the impoverished – an injustice that must be addressed.



Prof. Mehmet


Director of the Durham Centre in Islamic Economics and Finance -
Professor of Middle Eastern and Islamic Political Economy & Finance at the Durham University Business School

Dr. Dalal


Assistant Professor of Islamic Finance and Sustainable Development at College of Islamic Studies -
Hamad bin Khalifa University

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