With support from the U.S. Agency for International Development Regional Development Mission for Asia (USAID/RDMA), the Mekong Partnership for the Environment and Private Financing Advisory Network (USAID PFAN-Asia) brought together over 40 non-government organizations, civil society and private sector representatives in the Mekong region to learn about emerging international trends in sustainable investment and environmental, social and governance integration. They met to strategize about making investments more sustainable, which reduces risk, saves money and improves their reputations.
Vietnam's Lam Dong provincial government has made a significant commitment for action on climate change by launching the Lam Dong Provincial Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+) Action Plan (PRAP). The PRAP is one of the first of its kind in Vietnam and Southeast Asia, and is the result of a three-year collaborative process with the United States Agency for International Development Lowering Emissions in Asia’s Forests (USAID LEAF) program and its partners, including non-governmental organizations, forest owners, private companies, international organizations and universities.
Today, more than 40 women entrepreneurs from an Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) meeting in Bangkok announced a regional product brand and marking platform called the GREAT Women (Gender Responsive Economic Actions for the Transformation of Women) – ASEAN Collection. From its base in the Philippines, this innovative approach and brand is being scaled up to a regional level to enable women entrepreneurs in Southeast Asia to be able to work collectively to foster fair-employment and fair-trade conditions, market their products beyond their own countries’ borders and protect their product designs from being illegally copied and sold. This week’s meeting is supported by ASEAN, the US-ASEAN Business Alliance for Competitive SMEs (Business Alliance), the US-ASEAN Business Council, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in collaboration with the Office of SME Promotion (OSMEP) among many other local and regional partners. Baker & McKenzie, Procter & Gamble and other businesses and entrepreneurs are also taking part and providing advice alongside the ASEAN Women Entrepreneurs Network (AWEN) and the Federation of Business and Professional Women’s Associations of Thailand.
Greetings, all. I’d like to start by thanking sincerely panelists Boots, Su-Mei, Leena, and Shalaka for helping us to better understand how investors, women entrepreneurs, women’s rights activists, and development practitioners are engaging in the field of gender lens investing in Asia. They’ve helped us to better appreciate how important it is to link gender expertise with philanthropic, investment, and government funding, for the greater social good. I read an article recently in the New York Times by Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer, who in her bestselling book calls on women to “lean in” at work and embrace the will to lead. She’s also calling for a new way to advocate for gender parity. She writes: “We need to go further and articulate why equality is not just the right thing to do for women but the desirable thing for us all.”
This is a wonderful opportunity to engage with lots of smart folks on the major barriers and opportunities for scaling-up promising innovations, to help us all better address development challenges and deliver stronger results.
Last updated: June 30, 2015