I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of Asia-Pacific Group.
At the outset, the Group would like to associate itself with the statement delivered by Tanzania on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.
UNCTAD’s work program on investment and enterprise continues to generate concrete sustainable development outcomes in support of the 2030 Agenda. The significant global shortfall in finance for the sustainable development goals (SDGs)highlights the importance of ensuring national policy and business environments are formulated to effectively promote and facilitate pro-development private sector investment and enterprise activity. To this end, we recognize the value of UNCTAD’s key policy frameworks – developed from its significant real-world policy experience – as powerful tools to assist countries in this important endeavor.
Examining the most recent FDI trends from the World Investment Report 2017, the Asian Group notes with concern the first overall decline in inflows to the region since 2012 – a 15 per cent decrease to $443 billion. Our concern is tempered however, by the improved economic outlook in many Asian economies.
The Group wishes to commendthe Secretariat on the topical focus of the thematic chapter on the digital economy. Digitalization will be instrumental to the global economy in the future. As such it will also be central to delivering the SDGs. We therefore welcome the attention the WIR17 has drawn to this important topic via UNCTAD’s Policy Framework for Investment in the Digital Economy, emphasizing a holistic analytical approach which covers both hard and soft infrastructure concerns, and the important nexus between investment and digitalization in the SDG equation.
In the area of investment policies, UNCTAD’s Investment Policy Review (IPR) program represents an important pillar of efforts to catalyze investment and enterprise for the SDGs and has continued to provide important benefits to member States in support of 2030 Agenda. We commend the recent finalization of the IPRs of The Gambia and South-East Europe and look forward to their formal presentation in the context of this Commission.
The Group wishes to thank the Secretariat for the analytical and policy work notably on the reform of international investment agreements (IIAs), in answer to the directives of the Addis Ababa Action Agenda and the GA Resolution A/RES/71/215, which call on UNCTAD to continue its program of work fostering a better understanding of international investment agreements whilst furthering their development dimensions. Alongside the Secretariat’s Roadmap for IIA reform, the ten salient policy options for phase 2 reform provided in the 2017 report are valuable resources capable of assisting countries to better align their investment policies with the principles of sustainable development.
Several Group member countries are actively reshaping their international investment regimes in light of emerging needs and developments and we stand encouraged that a number of new bilateral investment treaties (BITs) involving Group members were featured in the 2017 report as practical examples of innovative, reform-oriented agreements. The Asian Group looks forward to further engagement with the Secretariat through technical assistance, capacity-building and advisory services as we work towards addressing the interaction between the national and international dimensions of IIAs.
We alsoappreciate UNCTAD’s work on investment facilitation along with its special focus on the promotion of FDI in projects relevant to the SDGs. We recognize UNCTAD’s capacity-building program for investment promotion officials and diplomats and appreciate the training that officials from the region have received through these focused and practical courses. We note the value of UNCTAD’s online platform on green investment and its publications in the IPA Observer series on relevant topics and good practice in investment promotion evaluation. Recognizing the practical contributions made by the program toward SDG delivery, we look forward to discussions on investment promotion to be held this afternoon in the context of the Commission.
I thank you Mr. President.