Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) have been high on agenda of United Nations (UN) agencies for past two decades. Now-a-days, sustainability and small enterprises are two major focused areas of UN agencies. Because of their place in an economy and their contribution towards economic and industrial growth, agencies in UN system are particularly concerned at creating enabling environment for SMEs to operate without any hassle.
Various agencies in UN system have already given due recognition to the SMEs and are particularly targeting at promoting SMEs through myriads of ways and measures. These specialized institutions support SMEs in areas such as enhancing export and import, upgrading skills, IPR matters, adoption of modern technology, innovation, technology transfer, labour matters, research studies & market analysis, etc. Each of the concerned UN agencies has specific SME development strategy and collectively UN makes a significant effort towards creating sustainable enterprises across the globe. Apart from this, these organizations have been formed with the cooperation of many countries of the world that make them distinctly placed than other institutions.
However, the UN agencies alone can’t make the difference unless they get associated with industry association, Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) that are working with the community on the ground level. Similarly, the industry associations, NGOs and CSOs need to associate with UN agencies to get access to the works and knowledge resources of the UN agencies that can help their targeted beneficiaries. Hence, it is complementary for both the UN agencies and industry associations like ISSME to have mutual working relationship to synergize the efforts and resources in the benefit of SMEs world over.
ISSME has been associated with some of the concerned UN agencies that focus on SME development to work on areas of mutual interest as well as sharing knowledge and participating in each other’s activities. ISSME is associated with the UN agencies by having Observer/ Consultative status with them. ISSME has working relationship with UN agencies such as United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), United Nations Economic and Social Council for Asia Pacific (UNESCAP), United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), UNICITRAL, World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), International Trade Centre (ITC), International Labor Organization (ILO), United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), United Nations Department for Economic and Social Affairs (UN/DESA), World Trade Organization (WTO), United Nations Global Compact and Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).
Apart from sharing of knowledge and resources that can boost the SME sector at large, ISSME is also in the process of developing tailor-made training courses that could enhance the skills of SMEs. Skill development is one of the major challenges that limit the growth of SMEs and, hence, we have special attention to make this happen in association with the UN agencies. In addition, we have been consciously working on how SMEs could take advantage of the works of UN agencies and benefit their businesses.