Intervention by the Permanent Representative of the Argentine Republic, Amb. Martín García Moritán
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I would like to begin by welcoming you to the United Nations and this ECOSOC Chamber in which we celebrate the adoption of the Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Day last year.
I would also like to thank all of you for being here today and recognize our partners in this event: the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Korea, UNCTAD, the United Nations Office for Parnerships and the ICSB, that is our guide in this important topic of MSMEs and Entrepreneurship.
As most of you know and you heard it before, with the support of ICSB, especially its Executive Director Dr. Ayman El Tarabishy, Argentina drafted the text and lead the negotiations that concluded on April 6th, when the United Nations General Assembly adopted the resolution to establish June 27th as the Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Day, with the cosponsorship of over 50 countries.
This was a follow-up to the 61st ICSB Annual World Conference, held at the United Nations in 2016 with the support of the Republic of Korea. In that occasion, ICSB made a Declaration about the urgent need to have a day to recognize the important role of MSMEs in the development of economies as a whole.
This widespread support is a product of the recognition of the importance of these enterprises in the future of the world. Since the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) all the countries have been working in their implementation and in finding ways to ensure that every actor could contribute in the best possible way.
Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises are one of these actors and they are mentioned in the SDG 8.3., which consists in promoting development-oriented policies that support productive activities, decent job creation, entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation, and encouraging the formalization and growth of micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises, including through access to financial services.
These enterprises have the potential to make a long-lasting positive impact on the world’s development needs, since, by number, they dominate the world business stage. Estimates suggest that more than 95% of enterprises across the world are MSMEs, accounting for approximately 60% of private sector employment.
These enterprises can in fact become the engines that sustain growth for long-term development in developing countries. When growth becomes stronger, MSMEs gradually assume a key role in industrial development. They can satisfy the increasing local demand for services, which allows increasing specialisation, and furthermore support larger enterprises with services and inputs.
As Ambassador Oh Joon brought to our attention in his statement in 2016, and I quote: "The 2030 Agenda calls for a renewed global partnership to foster transformative changes across all countries. This includes areas such as poverty eradication, inequality, the empowerment of women and girls, climate change, and others. One of the keys to achieving such a partnership lies in engaging a wide variety of diverse stakeholders", End of Quote.
Micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises are powerful partners. They can have great impact in embedding responsible business practices and sustainability in today’s complex global value chains. Engaging with the SDGs can contribute to MSMEs improving long-term returns and redefining Public-Private Partnerships with governments and organizations.
Also by aligning their sustainability strategies with the SDGs, these enterprises can help achieve many of them, since they can contribute to the improvement of the quality of the environment and mitigation of climate change impacts, the achievement of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls, the reduction of inequalities, the promotion of innovation, and many other goals.
In the case of my country, Argentina is a very entrepreneurial one; we are very highly ranked in that respect. But, regarding the doing business, ecosystems, and other things, we were in a very bad situation, so when the new Government took over on December 2015 it started to work on them. This included regulation, training, the development of ecosystems across the country, and financing. All these things were worked with the introduction of a new entrepreneur and MSME law.
This is a vision that comes from President Macri, as he sees that entrepreneurs are the key to bringing Argentina into the 21st century. This is also linked to the first priority of the G20 Presidency of Argentina, which is the future of work and the challenges every country has. More than half of the jobs in Argentina will be replaced by automation in the next few years, so the development of high-impact entrepreneurs and MSMEs is vital.
The importance that the President assigns to this topic can be exemplified by his participation in a reception organized during the 62º ICSB World Conference, held in Buenos Aires last June. In that occasion, that served to commemorate the first MSMEs Day, the Government of Argentina and ICSB organized an event in which, among others, the Minister of Production and the Secretary of MSMEs and Entrepreneurship spoke in front of an audience of more than 500 persons.
The following days the 62nd ICSB World Conference took place and included discussions and events with academia and private sector, and also with authorities of the Ministry of Finances.
All these discussions and exchanges of best practices regarding MSMEs will be more necessary than ever, if we want to achieve sustainable development and create a better future for all. We hope that the establishment of June 27 as the Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Day could serve as a platform for improving these discussions and unleashing the potential of these enterprises.
We did that in the working sessions of Thursday, which included discussions on education, women, the future of work and humane entrepreneurship, and we expect to do it again today.