The Role of Social Enterprise in Peace-building, Resilience and Sustainability A National Policy Dialogue
The Philippines development paradox of high poverty and inequality despite economic growth is a challenging start. Self-rated poverty among Filipinos rose to 46% in 2017 from 44% in 2016, even as the Philippine economy recorded one of the fastest growth rates in the region. In a recent release by Forbes magazine on the annual list of wealthiest people on the planet, 12 richest Filipinos had a combined fortune of $55.6 billion, nearly a fifth of the domestic economy.
The 2017 World Risk Report lists the Philippines as the third country with the highest exposure and risk to natural hazards, including earthquakes, floods and storms. The report also mentions that the country has a “high” lack of coping capacities which is defined as “measures and abilities that are immediately available to reduce harm and damages in the occurrence of an event.”
Peace and security issues are also serious concerns. The internal threats from armed rebel groups should not be missed following the Marawi seige in 2017. The economic development of the conflict affected areas has long been neglected by both the public and private sectors, with the consequence that such areas remain among the poorest in the country.
Social enterprises favour inclusion of the most vulnerable and marginalised and provide an avenue for those left behind – a platform for voice and economic participation. The research conducted by PhilSEN and the British Council in 2017 with support from UNESCAP and the European Union shows that social enterprises are viable businesses that address gaps and issues within communities. The sector has ripe potential and support from a wide range of stakeholders is vital for its growth to continue. In underdeveloped communities, social enterprises can be the missing link to ensuring that even those hardest-to-reach are able to benefit from the gains of the Philippines’s globalising and emerging economy.
In order to contribute to community and stakeholder resilience in the short-term and inclusive and sustainable development in the long-term, adequate public policies and multi-stakeholder partnerships should be formed. These in turn nurture an ecosystem for social enterprise to thrive and serve as a catalyst for innovation. With clear strategies and connections to the economy, opportunities are limitless to generate systemic changes.
The policy dialogue will be an opportunity for leaders from government, civil society, the private sector and the social enterprise community to come together to discuss how they can develop policies and strategies support the growth of social enterprises in the Philippines towards building peace, resilience and sustainability.