We are leaders of social enterprises, advocates and stakeholders of social entrepreneurship from 13 countries who have come together for the First Social Enterprise Advocacy and Leveraging Conference in Asia (SEAL-Asia) in Makati City, Philippines on November 25-27, 2014.
While Asia is one of the fastest growing economic regions in the world, it is home to 2/3 of the world’s poor. The gap between the rich and the poor has widened. The growth has not benefitted a large segment of the poor, especially women, people with disabilities (PWD) and indigenous people. Seventy percent of the world’s poor are women and tens of millions are PWDs. Poverty and inequality has further been exacerbated by extreme weather disturbances and the rising incidence of natural disasters.
South and Southeast Asia would most probably not meet a substantive number of the Millennium Development Goals, including targets to eliminate extreme poverty and hunger, and to empower women.
We believe that social enterprises, particularly social enterprises with the poor as primary stakeholders (SEPPS), play an important role as vehicles for creating and distributing wealth among the poor; and for building the assets, capabilities and self-reliance of the poor and marginalized sectors as actors in their own development.
We commit ourselves to building a vibrant social enterprise sector empowering the poor as stakeholders in sustainable, inclusive, and gender-transformative economic development. Toward this end, we shall:
- Build a strong learning community of SEPPS and support institutions to effectively address common internal and external challenges of social enterprises;
- Strengthen the integration of women economic leadership and empowerment in social enterprise development and social entrepreneurship initiatives;
- Build sustainable social enterprise models and resilient livelihoods as part of disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation in local economies;
- Engage civil society organizations as strategic partners in increasing the scale and depth of impact of social enterprises among the poor;
- Engage the business sector and impact investors as transformational partners in co-creating social enterprise and inclusive business models; pro-poor investments and gender-sensitive value chains; innovative corporate social responsibility programs; and platforms for building ethical and Fair Trade markets;
- Engage local and national governments and inter-governmental bodies at the sub-regional, regional and global levels to work for an enabling policy environment and ecosystem, including innovative Official Development Assistance (ODA) platforms, supportive to building a vibrant social enterprise sector as a key element in the pursuit of a post-2015 Development Agenda;
- Engage schools, universities, knowledge institutions and media as partners in education, research and advocacy of social entrepreneurship.
We enjoin the UN System, and the international community to acknowledge and recognize social enterprises with the poor as primary stakeholders as major vehicles for achieving the sustainable development goals (SDGs) of poverty eradication and transformation of economies.
We commit ourselves to building a vibrant social enterprise sector in Asia, in partnership with civil society, government and the business sectors, to co-create a sustainable future free of poverty, where women and men equally participate and benefit from the fruits of sustainable development.