Islamic finance is inherently well-aligned with the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Senior Advisor at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Aamir A Rehman shared this during an interview with the Bulletin in September.

“As the world looks to finance these SDGs, it’s very important that we are inclusive in our approach to finance,” he said.

He shared that Islamic finance has a lot to offer both on the philanthropic side and on the commercial side.

“By the philanthropic side I mean the whole area of Zakat, as well as endowments or Waqaf, as well as general charity. There’s a lot of philanthropy that’s given which can be channelled towards sustainable development. That’s important,” Rehman said. “And also on the commercial side, by that I mean Islamic banking, Syariah-compliant investment firms, Takaful companies and the like. There’s a lot of work that can be done to align their efforts more closely with the SDGs. We at UNDP have become more attentive to the Islamic finance sector as an area of opportunity for financing the SDGs and have begun engaging in a more focussed manner with the sector and I’m very enthusiastic and excited to see the progress that’s been made.”

He stated, “UNDP is increasingly engaging with stakeholders in the Islamic finance world, so we are very keen to make sure that Islamic finance is part of the discussion on sustainable finance and finance in SDGs.”

Rehman affirmed that the SDGs themselves offer opportunities in Islamic finance. He highlighted that in Islamic finance, the spirit of it is to channel savings towards real economic activity, and of course sustainable development is about real economic growth, job creation, sustainable development infrastructure and the like.

“The more people are concerned with sustainability, it means they’ll be more concerned about the real economy, which means that Islamic finance is better linked, so that’s definitely positive,” he said.

Source Borneo Bulletin

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