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Qatar: QFC Employment Standards Office Advances ESG and Just Transition in Strategic Dialogue

The Employment Standards Office (ESO) of the Qatar Financial Centre (QFC), a prominent onshore financial and business center in the region, organized a Strategic Dialogue with the theme “The Importance of Just Transition and Investment in Human Capital to Promote Equality and Inclusivity of Labor Practice.”

In collaboration with Gulf Sustain, a program backed by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and UNESCO Chair on Environmental Law and Sustainable Development, the initiative aimed to enhance understanding of the significance of human capital in Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG), and Just Transition initiatives.

During the inaugural session of the Dialogue, the concept of Just Transition was explored, highlighting the importance of addressing both environmental and social aspects in the transition to a sustainable economy. The discussion focused on advocating for the private sector’s role in inclusive and equitable transition planning.

Distinguished experts and representatives from the QFC, Gulf Sustain, the International Labor Organization (ILO), the UNESCO Chair on Environmental Law and Sustainable Development, and the United Nations (UN) Working Group on Business & Human Rights participated in discussions analyzing “Just Transition and Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Frameworks through the Social Lens.”

They provided valuable insights into ESG and the broader social implications of economic transitions towards more sustainable economies, highlighting the crucial role of fairness, equity, and inclusivity for workers.

Yousuf Mohamed Al-Jaida, Chief Executive Officer of QFC, praised the initiative, emphasizing, “This event exemplifies the QFC’s commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals and contributing to a future where progress goes hand in hand with inclusivity and sustainability. These values are ingrained in our strategic vision, and through initiatives that promote fairness and environmental stewardship, such as this Dialogue, we aim to take significant steps towards a brighter, more equitable tomorrow.”

Damilola Olawuyi, the UNESCO Chair on Environmental Law and Sustainable Development at Hamad Bin Khalifa University, underscored the significance of customized capacity development, reskilling, and training initiatives to harness the opportunities presented by ongoing technology transformation and digitalization.

He added, “The ongoing transition raises the need for skilled, talented and motivated workforce capable of supporting a knowledge-based economy. By prioritizing training and capacity building programmes, companies can be better prepared to align their practices and decision-making to advance the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, as well as the Qatar National Vision 2030.

This Dialogue is an important step in this regard, and we look forward to building on its evident success.”
Carlotta Ferrero, Head of Gulf Sustain, emphasized the importance of framing discussions on what constitutes a just transition within broader local and global contexts stating, ‘‘An inclusive and all-society approach is necessary for making the just transition a reality for all, including vulnerable workers.

Private sector companies must navigate transition processes in response to their specific contexts and sectors, using existing tools and frameworks such as ESG. Doing so requires us to unpack how the E and the S relate to each other, where progress on one can further the other. Events including this Dialogue give private sector companies an opportunity to reflect on their progress, exchange knowledge across industries, and strive to do better in the future.’’

Max Tuñón, Head of the ILO Doha Project Office, pointed out that “More than ever, the private sector has a vital role to play in transforming economies, safeguarding the environment, and ensuring human dignity in the workplace. We commend the efforts being made by QFC to champion new standards and practices, including due diligence within procurement processes. By giving more priority to sustainability and decent work, companies can contribute to the preservation of our planet and also promote social justice.”

Luigia Ingianni, ESO Commissioner at QFC, emphasized the significance of promoting decent work and ensuring a just transition towards a more sustainable world of work for economic development and the creation of more sustainable societies. She stated, “As the world embraces sustainability, the call for conscientious and inclusive approaches to transition becomes increasingly urgent. This Dialogue serves as a platform to delve deep into the importance of balancing economic progress with social equity and environmental stewardship.

Through collaborative dialogues and actionable insights, we aim to pave the way for responsible transitions that prioritize the needs of workers and communities, embrace diversity, and uphold ethical governance principles.”

The QFC advocates for labor policies that foster competitive businesses and cultivate dynamic work environments. It established the Employment Standards Office as an independent and impartial institution responsible for administering and enforcing the QFC Employment Regulations and overseeing all employment matters within the QFC.

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