Ministers of investment and enterprise participating in the 8th World Investment Forum identified the agri-food sector as a top priority for global investment.
They emphasized its pivotal role in addressing a $4 trillion annual investment gap in developing countries that needs to be bridged to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). They underlined its role in enhancing food security and preserving biodiversity.
UNCTAD Secretary-General Rebeca Grynspan underscored the challenges of attracting investment, such as risk reduction, capacity-building, and reforming international financial structures.
“The solutions to these challenges are not solely in the hands of any one country or institution,” she said. “So let us come together, learn from one another, and chart a path forward that benefits all.”
Meanwhile, the ministers identified high debt levels and a volatile international investment climate as key obstacles. They reached consensus on the importance of fostering a business-friendly environment, attracting environmentally responsible investments and establishing strategic public-private partnerships.
They deemed investment in transformative and sustainable technologies to be crucial for a paradigm shift in global food security and environmental sustainability. This involves accelerating the transition to renewable energy, harnessing green technologies and promoting supportive business environments.
At the Enterprise Ministerial Round Table, which included 18 ministers and representatives, participants emphasized the pivotal role of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises in global economies.
The World Investment Forum 2023 showcased game-changing start-up innovations for sustainable development. These innovations range from low- to high-tech solutions, including accessible greenhouse solutions for small farmers, lab-grown meat, land and desert regeneration technologies, and efficiency-enhancing solutions for agribusiness.
50 new SDG model zones launched
In response to the United Nations' call at the SDG Summit in September 2023 for a scale-up in efforts for the 2030 Agenda through SDG investments, the Global Alliance of Special Economic Zones launched the SDG Model Zone initiative during the forum.
This initiative recognizes the work of 50 special economic zones from around the world that are leading the way in sustainable development.