UNCTAD’s World Investment Report Highlights Investment Policy for Sustainable Development

UNCTAD6 July 2012: The UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has released the 2012 edition of the World Investment Report. The report discusses emerging trends to support sustainable development in national investment policy frameworks and international investment agreements (IIAs), and presents an Investment Policy Framework for Sustainable Development (IPFSD).

The report also covers  trends in foreign direct investment (FDI), noting that global FDI flows increased across all economic groupings, but still remain 23% below their 2007 peak, before the global economic crisis. From a regional perspective, FDI flows decreased in Africa, West Asia and the Least Developed Countries (LDCs), while they increased in East and South Asia, and Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC).

Among investment policy trends, the report highlights an increasing recognition of sustainable development objectives in national policy frameworks and IIAs, as well as in international fora such as: the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights; the implementation of the Principles for Responsible Agricultural Investment developed by UNCTAD, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), the World Bank and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD); the Doha Mandate adopted at UNCTAD's 13th Ministerial Conference; and the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20).

The final section of the report presents the IPFSD, describing a "new generation" of investment policies that aim to: create synergies and integration with wider economic development goals; foster responsible investor behavior and principles of corporate social responsibility (CSR); and ensure policy effectiveness in policy design and implementation. The framework outlines: a set of core principles for investment policy making for sustainable development; features of national policy guidelines; possible indicators for the definition of investment impact objectives and the measurement of policy effectiveness; and policy options to operationalize sustainable development objectives in IIAs. [Publication: World Investment Report 2012] [UNCTAD Press Release]