World Forum to Mobilize Investments for Climate, Energy, Health and Food
Monica Morrica

World Forum to Mobilize Investments for Climate, Energy, Health and Food

More than 7,000 stakeholders from 160 countries will convene in Abu Dhabi from 16 to 20 October to revitalize global investment flows across critical sectors

The UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) will hold the World Investment Forum 2023 to rally investments for climate action, clean energy, health care, food security and other development needs.

Heads of state, more than 50 government ministers, over 150 CEOs of leading companies and stock exchanges, and thousands of investment stakeholders – from sovereign wealth fund managers and investment treaty negotiators to heads of international organizations – will participate in more than 130 events co-organized with over 80 partners.

"As the world faces multiple crises, we urgently need investment stakeholders worldwide to ignite action, unlock more funds and channel them to vital sectors key to reducing the effects of these crises," UNCTAD Secretary-General Rebeca Grynspan said.

According to UNCTAD's World Investment Report 2023, overlapping crises such as the war in Ukraine, high food and energy prices and debt pressures led to a 12% decline in global foreign direct investment in 2022.

Opportunity to tackle interlocking issues

Dr. Thani Al Zeyoudi, minister of state for foreign trade in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), said UNCTAD can play a major role in addressing and ultimately mitigating these interlocking issues.

“It is an undeniably challenging moment for the global economy, and for the economies of the Global South in particular. As we confront the triple shocks of inflation, geopolitical uncertainty and climate change, balancing prosperity and sustainability requires a combination of innovation, investment and, perhaps above all, will,” Dr. Al Zeyoudi said.

He added that the forum provides an opportune moment for the global investment community, supported by policymakers and institutions, to mobilize and direct capital to projects that can fast-track environmentally responsible and socially beneficial development.

“As a consistent advocate for both equitable, inclusive growth and trade’s role in driving it, the UAE is eager to contribute to a solutions-oriented forum that can begin to write a positive new chapter for the world,” he said.

Ahmed Jasim Al Zaabi, chairman of the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development and Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), said: “Abu Dhabi is taking a leading role in defining the new architecture for climate finance, through concrete actions including its recently released comprehensive regulatory framework for sustainable finance that rivals global standards.”

By setting stringent requirements for sustainability-focused products and services, he added, the international financial centre of Abu Dhabi (ADGM) is putting in place a progressive framework that drives capital towards projects, advancing climate transition for a net-zero future.

Mr. Al Zaabi added: “We look forward to welcoming global leaders, entrepreneurs, investors, and government representatives to the ‘Capital of Capital’.

"We are confident that our collaboration will result in tangible outcomes that will benefit the global economy by supporting inclusive and advanced flow of trade and creating new opportunities for business owners and investors.”

$2.2 trillion annual gap for energy transition in developing countries

On climate action, this eighth edition of the World Investment Forum will highlight investment solutions that will feed into negotiations at the 28th UN climate change conference (COP28) scheduled for late November and December in Dubai.

Forum participants will agree on actions to boost clean energy investments in developing countries, which face an investment gap of $2.2 trillion annually for the transition to low-carbon energy, according to the World Investment Report 2023.

Financing a low-carbon future

The forum will also address how the sustainable finance market can help build a low-carbon future and increase investment in sustainable energy.

The value of the global sustainable finance market (bonds, funds and voluntary carbon markets) reached $5.8 trillion in 2022, despite the turbulent economic environment, including high inflation, rising interest rates, poor market returns and the looming risk of a recession that all affected the financial markets.

$450 billion needed annually for health and food

The forum will also explore opportunities to boost investment in health care. Developing countries alone need at least $100 billion in additional investment in health-care facilities and infrastructure each year.

They will also examine how to increase public and private sector investment in agrifood systems to reduce food insecurity, foster rural employment, particularly for women and youth, and increase incomes.

Countries need up to $350 billion annually for the next decade to transform agrifood systems, which can also help tackle climate change and biodiversity loss.

From commitments to actions

The forum will also offer countries a platform to translate their commitments on investment facilitation into tangible actions and reforms.

James Zhan, the UNCTAD director who leads the World Investment Forum, said: “This is a golden opportunity for developing countries to examine how they can bridge investment gaps through more efficient investment promotion and facilitation.”

Countries will explore how to make their investment facilitation services inclusive and address the specific needs of sectors and investor groups with a high development impact, such as social entrepreneurs and women, youth and rural investors.

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