The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) will hold its 8th World Investment Forum in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), from 16 to 20 October, 2023.

Taking place under the theme “Investing in sustainable development”, the forum will bring together government leaders, global CEOs and other investment stakeholders to tackle the key challenges brought about by multiple global crises – including the need to invest in food security, energy, health, supply-chain resilience, infrastructure, and productive capacity growth in the least developed countries. 

The priority themes of the forum were jointly presented today by UNCTAD Secretary-General Rebeca Grynspan, the UAE’s Minister of State for Foreign Trade, Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, and Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development, Mohamed Ali Al Shorafa.

Ms. Grynspan emphasized the vital role the forum plays in mobilizing efforts global by the investment-development community to address global challenges, which have both multiplied and converged in recent years. “I see how investors, firms and governments are, in increasing numbers, putting sustainability and long-term value at the core of their activities,” she said. “The World Investment Forum aims to bring them all together to make a positive contribution to addressing today’s most pressing issues, including through climate finance and investment. I sincerely thank our host country partners, the Ministry of Economy and the Government of Abu Dhabi, for offering to host the forum."

The forum will take place a few weeks ahead of the annual climate summit COP28, which will also be held in the UAE. The forum will enable policymakers and other stakeholders to find solutions and reach consensus on priority issues, and its outcomes will feed into COP28 negotiations.

Important opportunity

“At a time when much of the world is struggling with contracting markets and a post-Covid recovery that has yet to fully take hold, UNCTAD’s 8th World Investment Forum is an important opportunity to take a long-term perspective,” Dr. Al Zeyoudi said.

He said the challenges the world faces, whether systemic issues such as climate change, inequality and food security or mitigating the pandemic’s impact on trade, investment and supply chain resilience, require unity of purpose and action on an unprecedented scale.

Dr. Al Zeyoudi added: “It is fitting that the event takes place in the UAE, where we are continuously reinventing and remodeling our economy to anticipate future changes. Decades of UAE innovation are now generating a level of recognition and trust in our systems and processes, while various national initiatives have helped to attract unprecedented investment and talent, transforming our nation into a truly global business hub.”

From the host city Abu Dhabi, Mohamed Ali Al Shorafa, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (ADDED), underscored the critical need to safeguard and build on the process of global reform, including the liberalization of trade and responsible investment policies.

“Against the backdrop of a highly volatile global economic landscape, the international community shares a collective responsibility to address the challenges facing the multilateral trading and development system,” he said. “It is imperative that we continue to come together, cooperate and identify much-needed solutions and alternative ways for the prosperity of all countries and humankind.”

Mr. Al Shorafa said the UAE proudly embodies the ideals of openness, equality and sustainability, the pillars of its successful international business and trade doctrine. “We will continue to work with all countries towards enhancement of global socio-economic attributes and supporting long-term growth for sustainable development initiatives. We have a clear vision on how to scale the solutions required to help move the world forward and achieve real progress.”