USCIB again provided international business community leadership at the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)’s World Investment Forum (WIF), a summit level meeting held virtually this year from UNCTAD’s Geneva headquarters. USCIB President/CEO Peter Robinson was a private sector speaker at one of the Summit leaders’ plenary panels, reprising a lead role he had taken at two earlier UNCTAD WIF sessions. Shaun Donnelly, a USCIB Senior Advisor, led the business panelists at the annual UNCTAD high-level Conference on International Investment Agreements (IIAs). Donnelly has participated, in person or virtually in Geneva in the last six UNCTAD IIA sessions. Business is often underrepresented at UNCTAD meetings, which tend to attract more participation from government officials, NGOs and academic representatives. USCIB consistently steps forward to ensure that business concerns and priorities are on the table.
In their interventions, both Robinson and Donnelly emphasized the importance of international private investment in driving global economic recovery, growth, and job creation and in achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It is imperative to business that investment decisions are backed by strong and enforceable international investment agreements (IIAs). Some foreign government representatives seem intent on weakening, even eliminating important “Investor-State Dispute Settlement” arbitration procedures, which can protect foreign investors from arbitrary and discriminatory treatment by host governments.
“We thought it was important to step forward again at this year’s World Investment Forum to ensure business perspectives were represented,” said Robinson. “I think we at USCIB have developed a good relationship with the leadership at UNCTAD and have helped to emphasize the importance of including business voices in their meetings. Investment is such an important issue as the world struggles for economic recovery, growth, good jobs and progress toward the UN SDGs. And forward progress will depend on strong multi-stakeholder collaboration, with UNCTAD being a key organization in bringing all relevant parties together. I also appreciated the opportunity to connect with UNCTAD’s new Secretary General Rebeca Grynspan, former Vice-President of Costa Rica.”
USCIB international partners served as panelists at the WIF, delivering similar messages. International Chamber of Commerce Secretary General John Denton spoke at the opening Summit session and Winand Quaedvlieg, a senior official from our Dutch counterpart national committee, VNO, and Chair of the Business at OECD (BIAC) Investment Committee, joined Donnelly on the important IIA panel session.
UNCTAD’s World Investment Forum continues on line virtually for the rest of the week. We will monitor sessions for important developments.