Asia-Pacific leaders pledge joint commitment to developing social enterprise at SEWF 2017

Leaders across the Asia-Pacific region have agreed to push forward the growth of social enterprise and impact investment after a meeting on Thursday 28 September at the Social Enterprise World Forum.

Government ministers, officials and leaders from 17 countries, including Myanmar, Bangladesh and Samoa, took part in a ‘policy dialogue’ at the Christchurch event which was organised by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and the British Council.

At the meeting, the delegates discussed the role of social enterprise in each of their countries and how governments are supporting it.

At the end of the day, the delegates all signed up to The Asia-Pacific Declaration on Social Enterprise and Impact Investment

This document outlines a partnership between ESCAP, the British Council, the Social Enterprise World Forum, the Akina Foundation and several others to build a community of leaders across the Asia-Pacific with the aim of sharing experience and expertise to help grow social enterprise and impact investment. The ultimate aim is to support the UN’s 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 Sustainable Development Goals,” said ESCAP executive secretary Shamshad Akhtar. 

“This multi-stakeholder coalition brings together leading expertise, both regional and global, to support governments to catalyse the innovations urgently required to meet the ambitions of the global development agenda.”

David LePage, chairman of the Social Enterprise World Forum board, pointed out that the purpose of the Social Enterprise World Forum is to bring together social enterprises from all over the world to share their wisdom.

“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,” he said.

The British Council’s Global Social Enterprise programme aims to make connections between social enterprise leaders in the UK and others around the world. 

Mark Walker, East Asia director for the British Council, said: “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.”

After the meeting, Jonathan Wong, chief of technology and innovation at ESCAP, pledged that the UN would continue to support the movement and added that he hoped the dialogue would continue with even more Asia-Pacific countries taking part in a similar meeting next year.

Pioneers Post is media partner to the Social Enterprise World Forum. To see all of our Social Enterprise World Forum coverage click here.

British Council