IID Summit 2017

Inspiring a paradigm shift and pushing the global development narrative to the next level

Yerevan, Armenia, 22 March 2017 – “How can we finance the next 15 years of development work?  In what ways should true innovators be engaged in the development process? How viable is impact investment for business and governments alike?” – these were only a few of the many questions discussed at the very first global summit on impact investment for development, held in Yerevan on March 21-22.

More than 200 attendees participated coming from nearly 40 countries. The diverse group from social entrepreneurship, impact investment, development organizations, the private sector and government explored the potential of leveraging impact investment, social enterprise, and impact business to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.

The impact investment sector is experiencing a 16 % growth rate with a full 45% of investors willing to forgo market rate returns for social impact. The Summit recognized the demand for a paradigm shift in development and disruptive new tools for impact. Experts in all sectors agreed that in order to push global development to a new level, strategic collaboration is crucial.

“Impact investment has gained worldwide traction as a method of solving development problems in a more sustainable way.UNDP is moving towards adopting social entrepreneurship and impact investment principles in the development work,” said Magdy Martínez-Solimán, Assistant UN Secretary General, Assistant UNDP Administrator, Director of UNDP Bureau for Policy and Programme Support.

Participants of the Summit also attended the TEDxSalon event, with Karen Karapetyan, Prime Minister of Armenia, as a key speaker. According to Bradley Busetto, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Armenia, this project is truly ground-breaking both for UNDP and for Armenia. “We are frontrunners in the innovation sphere. We recognise the value of engaging innovators in the development process and creating spaces for experimentation, sharing of ideas, thus allowing success to flourish,” he noted, specifically recognizing TUMO Center for Creative Technologies and ImpactHub Yerevan.

Following two days of engaging and interactive sessions focused on group work and cross-sectoral collaboration, participants developed pilot projects and took solutions back to their home country, including one to bring the Silicon Valley to Yerevan. In Armenia, the UNDP and Armenian government have also taken the first steps toward impact. The government-affiliated Center for Strategic Initiatives, the government’s own “reform accelerator”, will host the first-of-its-kind national SDG Lab in Armenia, with the support of UNDP and the Stanford Change Labs.