From 6 to 9 September the UNCTAD held its Second World Investment Forum (WIF) in Xiamen, China. The opening ceremony of this biennial event was attended by various Heads of State and Government, including the Vice-President of China, Mr. Xi Jinping, the President of Iceland, Mr. Ólafur Ragnar Grimsson and the Prime Minister of Mozambique, Mr. Aires Bonifacio Ali.
UNCTAD Secretary General Supachai Panitchpakdi officially opened the Forum and welcomed the more than 1,800 participants from over 120 countries, including, senior policymakers, corporate executives, investors, experts and practitioners. He noted that the aim of the three-day forum was to focus on the challenges and opportunities for global investment in a post-crisis economy.
Through a video message, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon underlined the important role of governments as well as of private investments in tackling the effects of global warming and promoting a sustained economic recovery, crucial to achieving the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
The President of Iceland, in his keynote address, expressed his concerns about global warming, and explained his country’s experience with clean energy. He called for a "fundamental energy revolution." The Prime Minister of Mozambique emphasized the importance of financing infrastructural development and applauded the emergence of new sources of foreign investment for African countries from emerging economies. At his turn, the Vice-President of China referred to new global aspirations and the MDGs.
Following the opening session, the WIF 2010 continued in the form of smaller summits and conferences, including:
- The World Leaders Investment Summit, which brought together political leaders and CEOs of the world’s largest transnational corporations to discuss the new international investment landscape in the post-crisis era. The Summit highlighted that many problems caused by the crisis remain, such as unemployment and jobless-growth and that solving them required a renewed commitment to investment by private businesses. It was once more underlined that private investment is essential to overcome the multiple crises of food, energy and the economy, and contribute to achieving the MDGs.
- During the High-level Tripartite Conference, business leaders and senior government officials agreed that the fight against climate change will lead to a wealth of new investment opportunities. Therefore, to enhance green FDI, investment promotion strategies need to encompass a conducive policy framework. Laurence Alberts, CEO of Suzlon Energy Tianjin Ltd., emphasized the importance of national policies and public-private partnerships in paving the way to green investment.
- The Sustainable Stock Exchanges dialogue was a continuation of last year’s dialogue at UN Headquarters in New York where top executives explored how the world’s stock exchanges could benefit sustainable business practices and responsible capital markets. Considering environmental, social and governance challenges, this year’s event focused on the relationship between all major stock exchanges and the regulatory frameworks in which they operate. Leading figures from the investment community underscored the need to include environmental and social considerations into financial markets in order to promote more sustainable development.
Other events at the WIF 2010 included the Ministerial Round Table, the International Investment Agreements Conference, and a special conference on “Promoting Responsible Sovereign Lending and Borrowing.”
By the end of the meeting, four issues were especially standing out: the role of private investments in the creation of jobs and in stimulating economic activity; the need to promote energy efficiency and green technology; the need to advance responsible investment and corporate sustainability; and the responsibility to ensure a successful MDG Summit this September.
For more information on the WIF, click here.