UNCTAD S-G presents World Investment Report 2012 at roundtable in London

06 July 2012

UNCTAD's new Investment Policy Framework for Sustainable Development unveiled in its 2012 World Investment Report was presented today by Secretary-General Supachai Panitchpakdi at a roundtable discussion organised by the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) in London.

Established in 1960, ODI is Britain's leading independent think tank on international development and humanitarian issues.

After introductions by Dr. Alison Evans, Director of ODI, and Secretary-General Supachai, Mr. Richard Bolwijn, acting head of UNCTAD's Business Facilitation Section, provided further insights into the World Investment Report 2012: Towards a New Generation of Investment Policies. The roundtable discussion on the report was chaired by Dr. Dirk Willem te Velde, Head of ODI's International Economic Development Group.

The session was told that a “new generation” of investment policies seeks to address specific concerns related to sustainable development at the national and international levels. At the national level, these challenges include integrating investment policies into broader development strategies, incorporating sustainable development objectives into national legislation, and improving the effectiveness of investment-related policies. At the international level, there is a need to strengthen the sustainable development dimension of international investment agreements (IIAs), to better balance the rights and obligations of States and investors, and to better manage the existing complexity of the IIAs, which continue to grow in number around the world.

The new investment policy framework provides guidance for governments on how to address these challenges at the level of policy design and implementation. The framework consists of:

  • A set of eleven Core Principles for investment policymaking with the starting point that the overarching objective of investment policymaking is to promote investment for inclusive growth and sustainable development;
  • Detailed guidelines for national investment policies at the strategic, normative and administrative levels;
  • Specific guidance for policymakers in the form of options for the design and use of IIAs with a particular focus on strengthening the sustainable development dimension of these agreements.

These key components reflect the recognition that investment promotion, if it is to generate sustainable development outcomes and more quality investment, has to be accompanied – if not preceded – by the establishment of proper and effective regulatory and institutional frameworks, the World Investment Report contends.

The roundtable session also discussed the latest trends in FDI and TNC activity, including UNCTAD's new FDI attraction and contribution indices.

The 2012 World Investment Report was officially launched in Geneva on 5 July by Mr. James Zhan, Director of UNCTAD's Division on Investment and Enterprise, with concurrent launchings in 42 capitals and cities around the world.