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Sharjah Chamber Of Commerce & Industry To Host 1st Arab Forum For Corporate Social Responsibility

The Arab Administrative Development Organization, which operates under the League of Arab States, will be holding the 1st Arab Forum for Corporate Social Responsibility in cooperation with the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The event, slated for April 13 to 15, 2009 at the Chamber headquarters with the theme "Arab and Foreign Experiences", will be held under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammed Bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Crown Prince and Deputy Ruler of Sharjah.

The forum will gather high-level delegations from different Arab countries. Its importance lies in its complementary role alongside other previous events which revealed the practical experiences of leading Arab countries in adopting social responsibility principles. Social responsibility is a relatively new concept in the Arab World although it has already become crucial in helping Arab companies project and promote a positive image throughout the Arab business community.

The event will highlight the experiences of participating Arab countries and analyze them based on high international standards such as the economic and social framework of the country; current business conditions; service to the surrounding community; and environmental and resource conservation. Organisers hope to attract senior executives in Arab and multi-national companies from the private and public sectors; leaders of civil society organizations; researchers, media professionals and activists involved in social responsibility; human rights organizations; and members of the United Nations and the Arab League.

The importance of the event was emphasized during a special press conference held today (Tuesday, March 24, 2009) at the SCCI headquarters. Among the high-profile officials present were Refaat Abdul Halim Al Faaouri, Director General of the Arab Administrative Development Organization, and Mohammed Ahmed Amin, SCCI Director General Assistant for International and Economic Affairs,

Speaking before the press, Hussein Mohammed Al Mahmoudi, Director General of SCCI, said: “Public and private companies must invest in their respective communities and effectively participate in social development. The importance of the social role of buisnesses has increased significantly in light of the economic recession’s influence in elevating competition throughout the Arab and international markets. Our participation in the upcoming forum will affirm our desire to support the business community in helping achieve social and economic development in Sharjah and across the UAE in general.”

“Despite the broad and effective role of GCC Governments in achieving economic progress, development and social welfare, many individuals and companies have chosen to continue their contributions in these areas. Their regional and global initiatives have indeed helped advance social and developmental conditions,” added Al Mahmoudi.

For his part, Dr. Al Faaouri applauded the holding of the forum in the UAE and praised the initiatives of the Chamber, which continuously pursues best practices and modern developmental concepts that support the business community and enhance the status of Sharjah and the UAE as important regional economic hubs.

Dr. Al Faaouri said: "This forum provides an excellent opportunity to exchange experiences and expertise in applying social responsibility strategies and examining their results and effects in different areas. Through this event, we seek to raise awareness on the role of the economic process as a social, national and human activity which primarily aims to promote participation in public work, and not just a mere isolated activity separated from the future goals and aspirations of the countries. We hope that this gathering will help significantly in attaining the desired goal of promoting principles of social responsibility throughout the Arab world as they provide the ideal approach for a secure future."

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) goes beyond donations to projects, developmental programs and charities. CSR requires a commitment to social development principles that provide several advantages to communities which can help them avoid negative economic, social and environmental conditions. There are several areas included in social responsibility, including business management in accordance with ethical rules and principles; protection and preservation of major resources such as water, forests, wildlife and soil; prevention of and resistance to corruption; and the protection of human rights which can be achieved by, for example, helping workers acquire economic and social benefits such as savings, insurance, family care.

The Arab Administrative Development Organization was founded in 1961 as a specialized organization under the League of Arab States tasked to achieve administrative development in the Arab region and address comprehensive development issues. The organization provides Arab governments with various services and programs and collaborates with governmental and business organizations as well as the private sector and administrative leaderships on all the levels.


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