ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Climate Change on Friday teamed up with the Aga Khan Foundation (AKF) for collaboration and coordination aimed at livelihood security of people living in the rural areas in general and Gilgit-Baltistan in particular.
The two sides signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) under which the ministry will focus on key areas such as climate change and environmental coordination, matters relating to sustainable development, water and sanitation and sustainable urbanisation.
The ministry will also focus on multilateral environment agreements, national policy and plans regarding ecology, forestry, wildlife, biodiversity and desertification.
The agreement will strengthen cooperation between the ministry and its allied sections/wings and line departments and the AKF and its sister organisations, including the Aga Khan Rural Support Programme (AKRSP) and the Aga Khan Health Services (AKHS).
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According to the agreement, the two sides will cooperate on the shared objective of sustainable socio-economic development and addressing the challenges of climate change in rural areas through promoting knowledge sharing, coordination, research, joint activities, capacity building, policy support and joint resource mobilisation as well as creating opportunities through closer relations.
According to an official in the ministry, both the sides have agreed to provide technical support to mainstream risks from climate change as well as share technical knowledge and model development programmes which would include but not limited to safe and resilient infrastructure, identify hazard and vulnerable areas and its mapping, glacial lake outburst flood (GLOF) risks identification and mitigation, water resource conservation and protection and safe water distribution.
The ministry and the foundation will also collaborate in technical and financial support in water, food, livelihoods and energy security of the mountainous and resource poor regions of the country.
Special focus would be on community based afforestation and agro-forestry drives and community based water management and conservation, as well as promote renewable energy.
Both the sides will work to improve access to markets and build awareness and capabilities related to climate change related effects.
From green bonds to ethical portfolios, assessing efforts to grow the pool of planet-friendly capital.
O holy funds
Posted February 1, 2019
Winter 2019 Issue
How the Pope, the Aga Khan and Anglican Church invest
His Holiness Pope Francis
Faithful followers: 1.2 billion Catholics
Fund management body: Institute for the Works of Religion (IOR), commonly known as the Vatican Bank
Mandate: To serve the global mission of the Catholic Church through the administration of the entrusted assets and providing payment services to the Holy See and related entities. The celebration of human life, creation, and human dignity are fundamental Catholic principles and values that are to guide the institute’s investment choices and always prevail over return consideration.
Assets: €5.3 billion (C$8.2b), of which €3.5 billion (C$5.4b) are assets under management and custody accounts
Returns: Net profit of €31.9 million (C$49.4m) in 2017
Negative screens: Companies that violate or do not fully respect the globally recognized principles of human rights, labour standards, the fight against corruption or the fight against environmental crime
Positive screens: Companies creating a sustainable future, corporate social responsibility leadership, promoting the development of poorer countries
The lowdown: In 2018, the Institute’s Board of Superintendence approved a faith-based approach to apply to all its financial investment, notes board president Jean-Baptiste Douville de Franssu, former CEO of Invesco Europe, who is on a mission to bring the IOR back to its ethical roots. It is difficult to verify how this is working in practice as the IOR does not publicly disclose any of its corporate bond or equity holdings. It does, however, provide its asset allocation breakdown: 97.2% of its €2.4 billion (C$3.7b) in investment securities is composed of government bonds issued by major European countries (core and peripheral), as well as financial and corporate bonds. One of the reasons the Vatican may be weary of holding equity positions and disclosure in general could be because of previous periods of intense scrutiny including in 1968 after media reports revealed controversial investments in Udine, a military weapons manufacturer, and Istituto Farmacologico Serono, a firm that once made birth control pills.
A new foundation, based in the Vatican City, “Quadragesimo anno” was set up in 2018 to create a certification system meant to ensure financial investments are in accordance with the social doctrine of the church, which could be a valuable tool for Catholic faith-based investors.
His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan
Faithful followers: 20 million Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims
Fund management body: Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development (AKFED)
Mandate: To create profitable sustainable enterprises that stimulate job growth, support entrepreneurial activity and contribute to overall economic output in places that lack access to capital, with 100 per cent of profits reinvested in further development.
Assets: 90 companies with 47,000 employees (Financial assets not provided)
Returns: Revenues of US$4.3 billion (C$5.9b) in 2017
Negative screens: None explicitly stated
Positive screens: Companies that provide goods and services essential to economic development, ranging from banking to electric power, agricultural processing, hotels, airlines and telecommunications. (AKFED adheres to an ethical framework that emphasizes the ethics of inclusiveness, education, compassion and sharing, respect for life and health care, sound mind, sustainable environment and good governance)
The lowdown: The fund discloses 78 subsidiary or associated companies (eight of which are publicly traded) spanning 19 countries across five different economic development themes. Many of the investments appear to be aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals, a gold standard for ethical investors. Unlike the IOR, the fund discloses the names of companies it owns, so it is possible to do a partial evaluation on a few key corporate social responsibility indicators. Relative to a global index of comparator companies (MSCI ACWI), the eight publicly traded companies held in the AKFED demonstrated a high rate of tax payment (48% of profits over the past five years), below average female representation on the board (12%) and higher than average CEO-to-average worker pay ratio (160:1), according to analysis by Corporate Knights.
The fund claims impressive impact metrics that include generating electricity for 10 million people and providing quality health care to five million people. Holdings include the largest independent media house in East and Central Africa (Nation Media Group), a hydropower facility that provides half of the power for Uganda (Bujagali Energy), the leading telecoms provider in Afghanistan (Roshan, a certified B Corporation) and the largest commercial bank in Pakistan (Habib Bank, a leader on microcredit and women’s financial inclusion). The latter investment, however, landed the fund in hot water in 2017, when Habib Bank paid out a US$225 million (C$306m) settlement to the New York State Department of Financial Services for compliance failures at its only U.S. branch, which has since been shuttered.
The Most Reverend and Right Honourable Justin Welby
Faithful followers: 85 million Anglicans (Church of England is the mother church of the international Anglican Communion)
Fund management body: The Church Commissioners (largest of three National Investing Bodies)
Mandate: To oversee the church’s endowment, which needs to return a substantial income to “support the church of today and the church of tomorrow.” The ethical investment policy embraces stewardship, engagement and investment exclusions in activities that are materially inconsistent with Christian values.
Assets: £8.3billion (C$14.3b)
Returns: Total return on its investments in 2017 of 7.1%, with an average return of 9.4% per annum over the past 30 years
Negative screens: Indiscriminate weaponry, conventional weapons (>10% turnover), production or distribution of pornography (>3% turnover), any company which earns more than 10% of group revenues from tobacco, gambling, non-military firearms, high interest rate lending, human embryonic cloning, tar sands or thermal coal
Positive screens: Sustainable environmental practice, fair treatment of customers and suppliers, responsible employment practices, conscientiousness with regard to human rights, sensitivity towards the communities in which the church operates, and best corporate governance practice
The lowdown: The Church Commissioners disclose their 20 most valuable property and equity holdings. The fund has relatively large positions in dental supplier Henry Schein and LED-firm Acuity Brands, but unlike the Church of England Pensions Board, does not count Apple, Amazon, Facebook, JP Morgan or Wells Fargo among its top 20 equity holdings. Relative to a global index of comparator companies (MSCI ACWI), the commissioners’ top 20 disclosed equity holdings demonstrated below average rate of tax payment (14% of profits over the past five years), above average female representation on the board (25%) and a higher than average CEO-to-average worker pay ratio (157:1), according to analysis by Corporate Knights.
The paltry 14% of profits paid in taxes is the worst result among prominent religious funds analysed by Corporate Knights and even in the context of engagement stands at odds with the Archbishop of Canterbury lamenting that vast companies “leech off the taxpayer” by not paying their taxes. Relative to its benchmark, the commissioners reported both a higher exposure to climate solution companies (9.7%) and a bigger portfolio carbon footprint (313 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per £1 million of corporate revenue). The Church of England has active campaigns to use the combination of its investor and moral power to combat corporate tax avoidance and assist the transition to a low carbon economy by high carbon global companies through its involvement with the Transition Pathway Initiative (TPI).
Portugal: Lisbon's Curry Cabral public hospital to have first surgical robot
Lisbon's Curry Cabral public hospital is to receive Portugal's National Health Service's first surgical robot, the hospital's board announced on Tuesday
Lisbon’s Curry Cabral public hospital is to receive Portugal’s National Health Service’s first surgical robot, the hospital’s board announced on Tuesday.
According to the chair of the Central Lisbon Hospital Centre, Ana Escoval, the first robot for surgeries in the SNS was donated by the Aga Khan Foundation.
Portugal already has several surgical robots in private units, but the SNS did not have one, Escoval said.
“On behalf of the patients, we all have an obligation to find ways to also equip the SNS […].
Any person, poor or wealthy, in our country, who needs or is better treated with robotic surgery, should not be left out due to lack of financial resources,” Escoval told journalist on the sidelines of the inauguration of the intervention radiation unit at Curry Cabral and a tribute to the surgeon Eduardo Barroso.
Surgical robots are used in various specialities as substitutes for the surgeon’s hand, allowing greater precision and less invasive surgeries.
The first SNS robot will be in Curry Cabral, to be installed during the first half of the year.
AKDN renews support for the Support Platform for Syrian students in Portugal
Through this Global Platform, the goal is for Syrians who come to Portugal to continue their academic studies.
The Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) has joined the Global Support Platform for Syrian Students to assist Syrian students who come to Portugal to pursue their academic studies.
The signing of the memorandum took place this Wednesday in Lisbon, in the presence of the former President of the Portuguese Republic and founder of this Global Platform, Jorge Sampaio, the President of the FOCUS National Committee, Munir Ahmad, and the Diplomatic Representative of His Highness Aga Khan in Portugal Nazim Ahmad.
The memorandum thus allows to maintain the spirit of collaboration between the Aga Khan Network and the Global Platform which already allowed in 2015 the reception of Syrian students in Portuguese universities, guaranteeing them support during their stay in Portugal.
Aga Khan Development Network attends International Economic Summit in Russia
AKIPRESS.COM - At the invitation of H.E. Rustam Minnikhanov, President of Tatarstan, His Highness the Aga Khan was represented by Dr. Shamsh Kassim-Lakha who led the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) delegation to the 11th International Economic Summit in Kazan from 24 to 26 April 2019.
On the sidelines of the Summit an Exhibition of AKDN and the Aga Khan Award for Architecture was opened by President Minnikhanov who warmly welcomed the decision of the Award’s Steering Committee to hold the prestigious prize-giving ceremony in the historic centre of Kazan, Russian Federation in the autumn of 2019.
“I was pleased to learn about the Aga Khan Development’s work to improve the quality of life of peoples in diverse countries of the world and it is a great honour for us to receive and to be nominated for the Aga Khan Architecture Award this year. Everything that I saw during the exhibition in Kazan inspires me, because everything in this competition is aimed at the benefit of people. Public spaces are the environments where we live,” underlined President Minnikhanov at the opening of the Exhibition.
Jubilee Insurance unveils revolutionary in-patient care program
Jubilee Insurance has Wednesday launched a first of its kind free hospital in-patient beauty therapy service in all major hospitals in the city.
The program named “Recover in Style” seeks to offer a holistic approach to patient care was launched at Aga Khan University Hospital, Nairobi.
Rather than focusing on illness, Jubilee Insurance will leverage on the connection between the mind, body, spirit and emotion to enhance the overall well-being of our members.
Beauty therapy has an important therapeutic role beyond cosmetics and aesthetics as it offers an individual an overall sense of well-being and enhanced self-esteem. Clinical evidence has shown this positive emotional and mental state results in quicker recovery from physical illness.
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