Muscat, Oct 11 – The Omani Forum of Partnership & Social Responsibility began on Wednesday under the auspices of Shaikh Mohammed bin Said al Kalbani, Minister of Social Development.
It was attended by top officials from the government and private establishments.
Organised by Al Roya newspaper, the forum was held for the first time in the Sultanate with the theme, ‘Towards a National Charter for Social Responsibility’.
It was aimed at creating an interactive environment to look at the social responsibility projects in the country and find solutions to make them sustainable.
Hatim al Taei, editor-in-chief of Al Roya newspaper, said the forum seeks to set an accurate definition of social responsibility for private sector institutions. “There is a difference between corporate social responsibility and voluntary and charity work. Through this event, we hope to increase awareness of the importance of such initiatives by highlighting entrepreneurs and outstanding experiences in this field.”
Executive President of Capital Market Authority, Shaikh Abdullah al Salmi emphasised the need to understand the concept of social responsibility. “It is not just money or donations given as charity, but it is the institutional concept and culture that comes as part of operational strategies.”
Al Salmi said this concept goes in line with institutional definitions for the Global Reporting Initiative, which relies on specific measures and procedures for social projects.
“His Majesty Sultan Qaboos had called attention to the issue more than 27 years ago when he met members of Oman Chamber for Commerce and Industry in 1990. He had called for spreading awareness among businessmen and those working in different industries to cooperate with the government to fund development programmes. He had exhorted them to boost their contribution not just in economy, but in social development as well,” he said.
From the view of the League of Arab States, Secretary-General’s envoy for humanitarian relief, Shaikha Hessa bint Khalifa al Thani said social initiatives are “human instincts” such as helping neighbours or raising donations for people we may not even know. “Although there are many explanations for social responsibility set by corporates all over the world, they are all about “commitment of businesses owners to contribute to sustainable development by improving the living standards of people,” she said.
On the sidelines of the forum, an exhibition was launched with the aim of introducing pioneers in the field of social responsibility.
Zainab al Nassri