INCLUSIVE BUSINESS IN ASEAN
Inclusive business in ASEAN is a major force for inclusive and sustainable development. In 2017, the ASEAN member-states endorsed the ASEAN Inclusive Business Framework to institutionalize and mainstream inclusive businesses into the association’s economic community-building efforts. The framework highlights the importance of inclusive businesses in strengthening small and medium enterprises, and achieving the SDGs. It identifies four areas of action:
i. Establishing conducive rules, regulations and definitions;
ii. Enhancing access to financial resources and providing financial incentives;
iii. Providing information and raising awareness;
iv. Strengthening the capacity of the BOP and of Inclusive Businesses.
The ASEAN Coordinating Committee for Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (ACCMSME) leads the promotion of inclusive business in ASEAN, as it links to the ASEAN Strategic Action Plan for Small and Medium Enterprise Development 2016-2025. The ASEAN Business Advisory Council also actively supports inclusive businesses.
In 2018, ESCAP and iBAN partnered to support governments to enhance the policy environment for Inclusive Business in South-East Asia. The partnership includes conducting research and analysis that helps inform policy design, fostering platforms to share knowledge and lessons learnt across ASEAN, and providing forums for member States to explore Inclusive Businesses opportunities.
ASEAN Member States have already started setting up specific policies, promotion institutions and programs to develop an enabling ecosystem for inclusive business.
The Second ASEAN Inclusive Business Summit, held on 1 November 2019, organized by ESCAP and iBAN in partnership with the ASEAN Secretariat and Thailand as chair of the ASEAN in 2019, demonstrated increased level of activity, awareness and capacity among key inclusive business stakeholders in ASEAN.
In November 2019, during the 35th ASEAN Summit, the Heads of State of the ASEAN community reiterated the importance of inclusive business.