Small business and the SDGs: a panel discussion at the UN headquarters
The International Trade Centre held a panel discussion on investing in micro, small and medium-sized enterprises for the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the UN headquarters in New York. The event was organized in partnership with the Permanent Missions of Argentina, the Philippines, and South Africa to the UN, and the International Chamber of Commerce. Marion Jansen, Chief Economist at the International Trade Centre, and Elliott Harris, UN Chief Economist, stimulated the debate by laying the case for investing in in micro, small and medium-sized enterprises. They also outlined the role of investment facilitators and suggested innovative financing models to increase private investment flows into developing country enterprises. During the lively discussion, country representatives shared their experience of policies and initiatives to harness investment in small businesses for sustainable development. Impact investors shared practical examples of their approach, opportunities and risks while the International Chamber of Commerce provided a compelling call to action.
The panel discussion was organized in conjunction with the UN Economic and Social Council Forum on Financing for Development. Forum participants identified climate change, increased debt levels, volatile financial markets, trade tensions, and inequalities as risks to achieving the SDGs. They also identified opportunities including fighting tax evasion, money laundering and illicit financial flows, increasing impact investment and innovative financial instruments, and increasing access to finance to women and small businesses. The findings of the Forum on Financing for Development will serve as input into the High-Level Dialogue on Financing for Development during the General Assembly later this year.