A United Nations forum on sustainable development held in Bahrain concluded Thursday 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).
The World Forum called upon governments, the private sector, academia, civil society, media and international organizations to facilitate the work of entrepreneurs and innovators to ensure sustainable development, as stated in the Manama Declaration adopted by the forum.
The World Entrepreneurs Investment Forum (WEIF) 2017, where women represented over 60 per cent of participants, underscored the importance of the role of female entrepreneurs.
The forum “recommends the active involvement of women in all sectors related to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through entrepreneurship and innovation,” reads the Declaration.
The forum stressed the need to build and strengthen partnerships between entrepreneurs – both women and men alike, and urged stakeholders to foster the private sector as the main engine behind economic growth, structural change and innovation. It also underlined the pressing need to promote competitive micro, small and medium-sized enterprises as the main driving force for empowerment of women and youth.
Speaking at a press conference at the outcome of the three-day forum, President of the UN General Assembly Miroslav Lajčák 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, noting, in particular, the role of small and medium sized-enterprises, which often account for the majority of business activities at the national level.
Organized under the overarching theme of achieving the SDGs through promoting entrepreneurship and innovation, the World Forum was attended by over 1,000 government officials, entrepreneurs, representatives of international organizations, civil society and the academia from over 90 countries.
The World Forum will be held every two years in Manama and in 2020 it will be organized in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.