GCNL launches ProAbled platform and hosts discussion on sustainable development goals in Lebanon

​​Sally Abou Melhem, Office of Communications, sa256​@aub.edu.lb

The United Nations Global Compact Network Lebanon (GCNL) held the 4th edition of the Lebanon Collaboration for the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), where best practices related to advancing the SDGs in Lebanon were discussed, building primarily on private sector and social entrepreneurial initiative. The event also highlighted several ongoing efforts and partnerships that are happening in Lebanon in relation to the SDGs.

 
This event also included the official launching of ProAbled, an online platform that connects human resources departments with skilled trainees of several vocational centers and NGOs, which include people with disabilities, who are seeking employment in customer service, secretarial, food and beverage, construction, industry, and other technical jobs.

 
AUB President Fadlo R. Khuri, speaking at the opening session, said: “It is very important for us to lead by example. And in this case we’re leading by example, by partnering with several key stakeholders in order to be more inclusive and more effective at creating opportunities for individuals with disabilities. These are individuals who are a vital part of our society, they have a great deal to contribute.”

 
“We’re undertaking a major effort on this campus to make the campus more accessible,” Khuri added. “We’re not there yet, but we will get there, and this is something that we hope that we will do, both in the lead and in partnership with the state and with others.” 

 
“The ProAbled platform that we are co-launching with our partner, ShareQ, has been in the making for some time and will play a major role in connecting disadvantaged people and those suffering from disability to human resources managers and facilitate access to decent work opportunities,” said Dr. Dima Jamali, the GCNL national representative and an associate dean at the Suliman S. Olayan School of Business at AUB. 

 
“This falls under the umbrella of human rights,” continued Jamali, “which is one of the core principles of the UN Global Compact and Global Compact Network Lebanon and connects to some of the Sustainable Development Goals, including SDG 3 on good health and well-being, SDG 4 on quality education, SDG 8 on decent work and economic growth, SDG 10 on reduced inequalities, and SDG 17 on partnerships for the goals.” 

 
In his turn, Marwan Hayek, chairman and CEO of Alfa said: “Any business nowadays has an obligation to provide solutions to the various issues humanity is facing. As a leading telecom operator in a vastly growing sector in Lebanon and worldwide, we have a crucial responsibility to employ technology for the benefit of our planet and our people.”

 
Hayek restated the company’s commitment to the 2030 Sustainable Developments Agenda. “We look forward to strengthening our partnerships with all the change makers, gathered within the Global Compact Network Lebanon. Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much, so let’s join hands and reshape the future,” he added.

 
Minister of Social Affairs Pierre Bou Assi also spoke at the ProAbled launching event, referring to the main goals being pursued this year, especially for those with special needs, Bou Assi announced that enabling persons with special needs to vote in the coming parliamentary elections is a political, humanitarian, and national responsibility. He also talked about the law related to people with disabilities (Law 200/2000), noting the importance of activating it, and stressing the reconsideration of the definition of disability and its nature and degree so that we can make greater efforts for those who have more needs.

 
The UN Global Compact (UNGC) is a platform launched in year 2000 for the purpose of developing, implementing, and disclosing responsible and sustainable corporate policies and practices, through aligning business operations and strategies around the world with ten universally accepted principles in the areas of human rights, labor, environment and anti-corruption. GCNL was launched in Lebanon in 2015 as a multi-stakeholder initiative with the mission of encouraging participants to mainstream the UNGC’s ten principles in their daily activities and report on their implementation. GCNL’s mission also includes mobilizing businesses, civil society organizations, local authorities, and the broader Lebanese society to work together towards the SDGs. The Suliman S. Olayan School of Business at AUB is the secretariat for GCNL.