MANAMA: A United Nations forum on sustainable development concluded in Bahrain with a strong call for the integration of entrepreneurship and innovation in all economic and social dimensions as key strategies to implement the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
In particular, the World Entrepreneurs Investment Forum (WEIF) 2017 – having more than 60 per cent of participants women – underscored the importance of the role of female entrepreneurs.
“We recommend for the active involvement of women in all sectors related to the SDGs through entrepreneurship and innovation,” read the Manama Declaration 2017.
The document also called upon governments, the private sector, academia, civil society, media and international organisations to facilitate the work of entrepreneurs and innovators to ensure sustainable development.
Speaking at a Press conference in UN House Manama where the Manama Declaration 2017 was unveiled, UN General Assembly president Miroslav Lajčák also highlighted the importance of entrepreneurship and innovation for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
“We must offer better incentives to induce entrepreneurs and innovators to invest in SDGs to unleash and foster a dynamic private sector and ensure competitiveness,” he said.
According to him, the role of small and medium-sized enterprises in this context was crucial as they often account for the majority of business activities at the national level.
“Supporting enterprises is a proven strategy to build a robust economy from the ground up and helping businesses get off the ground and sustaining them through their initial phases helps generate employment, income and economic growth,” added Mr Lajčák.
Held under the overarching theme of achieving the SDGs through promoting entrepreneurship and innovation, the forum saw participation of more than 1,000 government officials, entrepreneurs, representatives of international organisations, civil society and the academia from more than 90 countries.
The three-day forum was organised by UN Industrial Development Organisation (Unido) Investment and Technology Promotion Office (ITPO) in Bahrain in partnership with the Government of Bahrain at the Bahrain International Exhibition and Convention Centre.
Briefing on the forum’s outcomes, Unido-ITPO head and WEIF 2017 executive secretary Hashim Hussein said the need to build and strengthen partnerships between entrepreneurs and stakeholders to foster the private sector as the main engine behind economic growth, structural change and innovation was a key takeaway.
He also underscored the importance of sound economic policies, legislation and programmes – as key elements of sustainable development – to ensure the empowerment of women at the national, regional and global levels.
Also at the Press conference, UN Information Centre in Manama director Samir Aldarabi said the forum will be held every two years in Manama and every year in between it will be held elsewhere, with Dubai chosen as the host of the 2020 edition.
Also present were UN resident co-ordinator and UNDP resident representative for Bahrain Amin El Sharkawi and Foreign Ministry Under-Secretary for international affairs Dr Shaikh Abdulla bin Ahmed Al Khalifa.