UNDP Resident Representative in China Beate Trankmann delivering a speech at the China-Ethiopia High-Level Dialogue on Sustainable Investment in Beijing

 

Your Excellencies,

Mr. Aschalew Tadesse,

Mr. Guo Xuejun,

Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

On behalf of UNDP, it is my great pleasure to welcome you all to the China-Ethiopia High-Level Dialogue on Sustainable Investment. And a special welcome to the delegation from Ethiopia, who have travelled across the world to be here:  (huan yin nin! Inik-wani de-hina met’ahi!)

We’re here today to discuss how to help make China’s new Belt and Road a sustainable one – one that not only boosts growth, but helps to create the kind of growth we need to ensure the future of humanity, and the survival of our earth. We’re here to learn how to overcome challenges to sustainable investments in countries along its way, and invest in them in ways that help us meet the Sustainable Development Goals: to end poverty, reduce inequality and protect our planet. And, in particular, we’re here today to build on our pilot for a sustainable investment climate in Ethiopia, by sharing industry insights, as well as raising the capacities of those who can guide these investments forward, including policy-makers and technical experts.

Achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development for a world that can sustain everyone, and an economy that can include everyone, calls for an added investment of $5-$7 trillion a year globally[1]. Developing countries alone require $3.3-$4.5 trillion annually, in areas ranging from building basic infrastructure, to mitigating and adapting to climate change.

The BRI - with its massive investments – can help meet critical financing needs in partner countries. Indeed, in 2017, countries and regions participating in it attracted $155 billion USD in foreign direct investment, and accounted for almost a third of the world’s foreign capital in-flows. If those investments follow sustainability criteria and SDG principles, then the BRI’s key projects - focused on connectivity and integration – could help unlock the funding and know-how to fulfil the SDGs, and their promise of leaving no one behind.

The development challenge is to ensure the BRI provides timely delivery of finance and resources to help close the infrastructure funding gap - while seizing every opportunity to advance development more broadly, including social and environmental progress towards the SDGs.

To realise this, we must recognise and address the most common barriers to be overcome. Within BRI partner countries, key challenges include aligning national development priorities with foreign investment interests, and absorbing foreign investments sustainably. For investors, this calls for greater understanding of host country priorities, policies, regulations and legal systems. Incorporating environmental, social and governance factors into decisions on investments and their implementation can also help make BRI investments sustainable and SDG-oriented.

What do we mean by this? On the supply side, helping Chinese investors to develop sustainable investment principles – by asking key questions: is it economically viable? Is it socially responsible? Is it ecologically sound? And, on the demand side, working with recipient countries, such as Ethiopia, to clarify regulations, and create incentives that champion the SDGs.

In this context,  the objective of UNDP’s engagement with the BRI, is to work with China and partner countries to maximize the positive impact that BRI finance can have on the SDGs. In support of this, we recently launched a joint report with the China Development Bank on Harmonizing Investment and Financing Standards towards Sustainable Development along the Belt and Road..

Today’s dialogue is another example of this work. It comes under UNDP’s Sustainable Investment Promotion Facilities Programme, which aims to create conducive conditions to guide sustainable investments – and Ethiopia is its first pilot country. In July, a Sustainable Investment Forum was held in Addis Ababa, to identify the challenges and opportunities for sustainable investment with all stakeholders and various sectors. By exchanging first-hand knowledge, visiting project sites, as well as consulting between stakeholders, we identified key industries ready for sustainable interventions. These include pharmaceuticals, agricultural processing, leather, textiles and others. Today’s discussion is an important follow-up to that.

Before closing, I would like to thank all those contributing to and attending today’s event. In particular, I thank the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China, and the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Ethiopia, for supporting this initiative. I also thank the Ethiopian Investment Commission for your key role in carrying out the project, together with two UNDP country offices. A special thanks also to the UN Peace and Development Trust Fund, for their financial support. And finally, I thank all of you – from governments, financial institutions, businesses, development agencies, embassies, think tanks as well as our UN colleagues – for being here today.

With so many different backgrounds among us, I look forward to hearing multiple perspectives on what concrete actions are needed at international, national and local levels, to make sustainable investments possible and visible across the Belt and Road. I hope today’s dialogue will bring more insight, more innovative tools and more inspiration, to take the next steps on this road – to help make it one that can include all along its way, and ensure the earth it depends on, for generations to come.

Thank you!

 

 

 

 

[1]UN chief: investments of 5-7 trillion USD needed each year to implement SDGs http://chinaplus.cri.cn/news/world/10/20180925/187921.html

 

 

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