Washington, Dec. 7 – The United Nations General Assembly today overwhelmingly passed an Israeli-sponsored U.N. resolution titled "Entrepreneurship for Development," marking the first time that the the U.N. has formally recognized that entrepreneurship should be a major tool in reducing poverty, creating sustainable development, and reinvigorating the environment.
Substantively the resolution has two overarching dimensions. It creates a system for channeling and insulating entrepreneurial resources, targeting barriers to licensing, financial, and legal issues that undermine local businesses. It also encourages entrepreneurship programs at all levels of education, especially seeking to empower women and young entrepreneurs. The resolution had been described by top global marketing specialists and social entrepreneurs as "a no-brainer."
The final vote was 129 yes, 31 no, 9 abstentions. Among the 31 "no" votes, most drawn out of the Arab and Muslim world, are some of the world's most impoverished nations. The day also featured speeches which eschewed discussions of development strategy in order to rail against Israel. The opposition raised concerns that Arab and Muslim governments were allowing hatred of Israel to color policies aimed at improving life in their countries. Turkey, a long-time Israeli trade partner, also pointedly voted "no," raising speculation that Ankara has shifted to a strategy of categorically denying Israeli activity in multilateral forums, no matter how justified that activity is on its merits.
Israel is considered uniquely situated to propose development and entrepreneurial strategies. Dubbed the world's "Start-Up Nation," the Jewish State has "emerged as a model of entrepreneurialism that countries at all stages of development have tried to replicate." It has more companies listed on the NASDAQ than any country except the United States, and per capita has more high-tech start-ups and a larger venture capital industry any other country in the world.
Israel has a history of successfully introducing and securing passage of development-related resolutions in the United Nations. Two years ago the country won 133 votes for a resolution seeking to widen the availability of farming technology in developing nations.
Below are selections from a TIP photo gallery documenting Israeli innovation and entrepreneurship across a range of fields. Click on the photos to go to larger versions, or on the link at the bottom to see the full gallery.