SEED Contributed to the Arab Region Global Sustainable Development Report (GSDR) 2023

Green SMEs at the steering wheel to resilient future

On 24 and 25 January 2023, SEED Executive Director, Dr. Arab Hoballah participated at the Regional Conference for the Arab Region Global Sustainable Development Report (GSDR) 2023. The Conference was held at Qatar University, Doha, Qatar. The 2023 GSDR built on the 2019 GSDR and identified five factors for change: Governance; Economy and Finance; Individual and Collective Action; Science and Technology and Capacity.

The Conference emphasized on the six intervention points that linked to SDGs namely: Strengthening human wellbeing and capabilities; Shifting toward sustainable and just economies; Building sustainable food systems and healthy nutrition patterns; Achieving energy decarbonization with universal access to energy; Promoting sustainable urban and peri-urban development; and Securing the global environmental common.

At the Conference, Dr. Hoballah provided inputs from SEED 20 years experience addressing 

Green SMEs are key actors that contribute to the following two interlinkages:

A)    Strengthening human wellbeing and capabilities

B)    Securing the global environmental commons


A) Green SMEs steer social inclusion and resilience strengthening human wellbeing and capabilities

Green Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) play a crucial role in both strengthening human wellbeing and securing the global environmental commons. By providing basic services and goods to underserved communities, Green SMEs support gender and youth empowerment, and provide a source of income for low-income and marginalized groups in informal economies. Over 80% of SEED-supported enterprises reported growth despite the pandemic, with an average growth of 27% in revenue.

B) Green SMEs innovate to reverse environmental degradation and accelerate action on securing the environmental commons

Green SMEs also protect and restore natural ecosystems, implement climate change adaptation and mitigation practices, and advocate for natural resource protection. They are pioneers and innovators in the integrated management and protection of the environment. Of SEED-supported enterprises, 83% implement at least one climate change adaptation practice or technology and 91% implement at least one climate mitigation practice or technology (SEED, 2022b).

Policy recommendations to support Green SMEs as innovators on the environmental commons and supporters of human wellbeing include: Promoting partnerships between higher education institutions, research institutions, and Green SMEs in the development of innovative green technologies; Building knowledge hubs and tools for Green SMEs can help in driving the enterprise from an innovative idea to an effective solution; Monetizing the green, social, and environmental impact in financial terms; Facilitating access to seed capital for green SMEs; and Promoting multi-stakeholder Partnerships to strengthen the entire value chain of sustainable business.