Public private partnerships are critical to enhance resilience of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs)

Statement delivered by Marcos Neto at the launch of the SME EnterPRIZE White Paper, highlighting the sustainability efforts of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Europe.

November 28, 2023

Dear colleagues and friends,

Thank you for inviting me to offer some opening remarks for the launch of the SME EnterPRIZE White Paper, highlighting the sustainability efforts of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Europe.

This Paper offers a view of the sustainability efforts of European SMEs, including the reduction of energy consumption, engagement with the circular economy and resilience of supply chains, all of which are critical to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

However, it is important to note that while this year marked the midpoint of the SDGs and it is clear we have a long road ahead.

Around the world – human development is under threat from hazard and shocks, from health crises and global conflicts to climate-change driven hazards and environmental degradation. For the first time in 32 years the human development progress, development gains declined for 2 years in a row.

Recent crises around the world   have shown that development progress is fragile and must be protected by bringing risk transfer and insurance solutions into the heart of development.

Small businesses are the backbone of employment, growth and stability, and they are especially vulnerable to climate risks, and the lack of insurance and social protection in many developing countries means the financial consequences of these shocks are felt by every business, and every person on which they depend.

In 2022, the global protection gap, which is the difference between financial losses incurred due to various risks and the amount of insurance coverage available, reached $1.8 trillion in premium equivalent terms, 20 percent more of what was recorded in 2018.

In the face of rising risks, we believe that more public private partnerships are critical to achieving the SDGs, which is why UNDP has partnered with Generali to enhance SME resilience in developing countries.

Our partnership will give life to new ideas, processes and tools to build the financial resilience of small business in developing countries. As part of the partnership, we launched the Insurance Innovation Challenge Fund in Malaysia, the advocacy campaign ‘Protect the Future’ and will soon publish a companion piece to the SME EnterPRIZE white paper, focused on South-East Asia. 

Addressing the financial vulnerabilities, economic losses and debt burdens faced by the developing world is essential to breaking the cycle of poverty.  We must come together to create new partnerships scale and deliver financial resilience.

SDGs cannot be achieved without active collaborations with the private sector which is why we congratulate Generali on the launch of this paper today.

We look forward to collaborating by coming up with a report early next year focusing on building SME resilience across critical value chains in Southeast Asia. 

Thank you all for supporting us in the journey to building financial resilience for all!