Leading global and regional organisations have announced their support for an ambitious multi-stakeholder initiative to promote the growth of social enterprise and impact investment across the Asia-Pacific region as a means of accelerating progress of the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Senior government officials from 17 countries as well as key private sector figures at the Social Enterprise World Forum meeting in Christchurch acknowledged that social enterprises and impact investment were critical drivers of innovation for sustainable development that can play a catalytic role in advancing inclusive and sustained economic growth, shared prosperity and decent work for all.
At the end of a policy dialogue, jointly organized by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and the British Council, Hon. Y.B. Dato’ Sri Hajah Nancy Binti Shukri, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, Malaysia, read the Asia-Pacific Declaration on Social Enterprise and Impact Investment. The declaration would see a partnership between ESCAP, the British Council, the Social Enterprise World Forum (SEWF), the Global Steering Group for Impact Investment, the Global Social Entrepreneurship Network, the Asian Venture Philanthropy Network, and the Ākina Foundation, to build a community of leaders across the Asia-Pacific with the aim of sharing experience and pooling expertise around the growth of social enterprise and impact investment in support of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
“The ambition of social enterprise and impact investment to create economic, social and environmental value aligns to the three-dimensional nature of the SDGs. This multi-stakeholder coalition brings together leading expertise, both regional and global, to support governments to catalyze the innovations urgently required to meet the ambitions of the global development agenda,” said United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of ESCAP Dr. Shamshad Akhtar.
“The Social Enterprise World Forum was established in 2008 for the purpose of convening social enterprises from all over the world to share wisdom, build networks and discuss how to create a more sustainable future. This new regional initiative complements our global mission to build a supportive public policy environment and disseminate transferrable strategies, systems and models to support the development of social enterprise and help build healthy communities and vibrant local economies across Asia and the Pacific,” said David LePage, Chairman of the SEWF C.I.C Board.
Mark Walker, Director East Asia, British Council, said: “Our Global Social Enterprise programme is premised on sharing experience and expertise in social enterprise and impact investment between the UK and other countries. This coalition presents us with an invaluable opportunity to further support policy makers and other stakeholders to create the conditions in which social enterprise and impact investment can thrive, thus helping to promote innovative solutions to entrenched social and environmental problems and advancing our shared vision for a more sustainable, inclusive and prosperous future.”
The Declaration invokes SDG 17, which states that “a successful sustainable development agenda requires partnerships between governments, the private sector and civil society”, and it highlights “the role that social enterprise and impact investment can play in supporting progress on the goals and targets of the SDGs, notably by developing impactful and innovative solutions to entrenched social and environmental problems and spurring sustainable and inclusive development.”