Georgetown University’s Center for International and Regional Studies (CIRS) hosted Dr. R.Seetharaman, Group Chief Executive Officer of Doha Bank, for a public Monthly Dialogue Series lecture titled “Sustainable Development for Economies and Corporations” on 20th January 2014 on their Education City campus in Doha, Qatar. Dr. Mehran Kamrava, Director, Center for International and Regional Studies Professor, School of Foreign Service in Qatar Georgetown University introduced Dr. R. Seetharaman.
Speaking on the occasion Dr. R. Seetharaman, CEO of Doha Bank said “Sustainable development is the one that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Individuals, Corporates and Economies should contribute to economic growth, social development and environmental protection with the aim of achieving sustainable development. The dimensions of sustainable development include social foundation, low carbon economy, environmental sustainability and gender equality.The key challenges in sustainable development include climate change, energy security, increase in natural and man-made disasters and rising unemployment.”
Dr. R.Seetharaman gave insights on Climate Change and Green economies. He said “Climate Change has become alarming because of fast deteriorating ecological imbalance due to rapid industrialization, urbanization, growing pollution, and greenhouse gas emission. Climate change is a global challenge which requires an ambitious global response and a green economy will protect the planet from the worst effects of climate change. Hence it is necessary that we contribute to the development of Green Economy. Green economy is mainly based on sectors such as renewable energy, green buildings, clean transportation, water management, waste management and land management.”
Dr.R.Seetharaman highlighted the role of Global Governance in sustainable development. He said “The Kyoto Protocol is a part of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and is aimed at fighting global warming. The 19th Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 19) to the UNFCCC which happened in Poland in Nov 2013 has set a pathway for governments to work on a new universal climate agreement for deliberation in the next UN Climate change conference in Peru. Environment protection for sustainable development is one of the eight Millennium Development goals ratified by United Nations and has received global attention. Global Governance gives emphasis on sustainable development.”
Dr. R. Seetharaman gave insights on food security. He said “Across the world, 700 million people in 76 low and middle-income countries are food insecure, and the situation could grow worse in the poorest countries according to the US Department of Agriculture. The majority of undernourished people reside in developing countries growing population and adverse climate changes are the key challenges impacting food security. We can no longer look at food security, poverty and climate change separately. Climate-Smart Agriculture is a driver for green growth.”
Dr. R. Seetharaman highlighted trends on corporate social responsibility (CSR). He said “There is an inevitable link between business and society and hence the corporate competitiveness needs to be integrated with social development. CSR activities have the potential to create several distinct forms of value for customers. It is the customer perception of this value that mediates the relationship between CSR activities and subsequent financial performance. Corporate social responsibility is about creating long term shareholder value by embracing opportunities and managing risks derived from environment, social, governance issues and economic factors.”
Dr. R. Seetharaman explained the role of private sector in climate change. He said “Attention is turning to ways to unlock the investment potential of the private sector. There is thus a need to find ways of engaging new private investors, particularly institutional investors to help address the climate financing gap. The private sectors expected returns on climate-related investment should be commensurate with the perceived level of risk.”
In his closing remarks he concluded “Green economies are the solution for climate change and for sustainable global growth. Building Green economies will rebalance global growth and promote sustainability.”