Inspired by the UN’s 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Ecuador is launching a vast new scheme to make the country more innovative, inclusive, transparent, socially aware, sustainable, competitive, and free over the coming 12 years: Project Ecuador 2030. On pace to have 20 million inhabitants by that time, 65% of whom will live in cities, the challenge of creating good jobs and economic growth, clean and affordable energy, and innovative industry and infrastructure is paramount to ensuring Ecuadorians of every stripe have a future worth planning for.
As such, Project Ecuador 2030 is working with the public sector and businesses across the country to design policies and strategies to help the country become a beacon of responsible production and consumption. To do this, it must also strengthen its institutions, prioritize peace and justice, and take measurable action on climate change—none of which will be possible without creating a wide range of alliances across the public and private sectors, non-profits, and civil society to ensure the vision becomes part of the fabric of the nation’s economic life.
Though input and support from the government are crucial, Project Ecuador 2030 is the brainchild of the Ecuadorian Business Committee (CEE), a national commercial lobby that contains over 80 of the country’s largest firms. Members, whose sales account for 79% of national GDP, pay more than 81% of national income tax and account for 93% of all non-oil exports. With extensive and intimate links with leading global organizations such as the World Trade Organization (WTO) and MIT, CEE is inviting companies from every sector and corner of the country to actively participate in the collective effort.
Now in its diagnostic “base line” phase, CEE is conducting an extensive study to assess the readiness of companies nationwide to seize the opportunities presented by the fourth industrial revolution. This includes determining each firm’s compatibility with the aforementioned SDGs, and how they might gain the skills and competencies to best meet them. Such competencies will include, but are not limited to, each firm’s regarding technology and innovation; commerce, the economy, and investment; natural resources; regulation and governance; and human capital.
Once assessed, the businesspeople and firms that demonstrate the most promise will be given the opportunity to participate in intensive trainings to help them better understand the dynamics and meet the challenges of the industrial revolution at hand in the most sustainable fashion. More specifically, they will be trained in how to better help their companies meet the stated SDGs. In alignment with the UN’s development targets, each firm involved in Project Ecuador 2030 will determine its role in eliminating poverty and hunger; advancing healthcare, education, and gender equality; making clean water and sanitation more accessible; reducing inequality; building sustainable communities and cities; and protecting terrestrial submarine life—in addition to the abovementioned economic goals.
Once trained, the project’s goal is to develop a critical and creative business-friendly ecosystem of leading firms and individuals that share knowledge, interests, and ideas about how best to implement the SDGs in the context of their individual firms. Moreover, it will also build the country’s most advanced database to date containing each firm’s performance on each of the above metrics. Once done, each firm will have a helpful standard against which to measure their progress, assess their shortcomings, and make changes small and large to their operational structures in accordance with Project Ecuador 2030’s goals. With these broader metrics in place, the public and private sectors will be able to work in tandem to ensure that local and national governmental bodies, academia, and financial institutions are all on the same page.