Photo taken on Oct. 22, 2018 shows a general view of the opening session of the 2018 World Investment Forum 2018 (WIF) in Geneva, Switzerland. The 2018 World Investment Forum kicked off here on Monday with speakers at the opening session calling for a focus on the current economic uncertainty and cooperation between government and private sectors on sustainable development goals (SDGs). (Xinhua/UNCTAD/Violaine Martin)
GENEVA, Oct. 22 (Xinhua) -- The 2018 World Investment Forum (WIF) kicked off here on Monday with speakers at the opening session calling for a focus on the current economic uncertainty and cooperation between government and private sectors on sustainable development goals (SDGs).
The forum is a high-level biennial conference organized by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) for addressing investment-related issues.
Saying the Oct. 22-26 forum has drawn 6,000 participants, 12 heads of state and more than 50 CEOs of private companies, UNCTAD's Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi stressed that the global economy faces more uncertainty than at the first WIF 10 years ago.
"We are seeking to counter uncertainties and an inward-looking perspective, to refocus political attention and corporate leadership on the opportunities rather than the pitfalls that the global economy can offer," said Kituyi.
Confronting these challenges is enormously important for global prosperity and the process to attain the UN SDGs by 2030, he said.
Kituyi noted that over two decades, cross-border investment activity has become the engine of global production of growth and that job creation and technology transfer has a direct impact on over 80 percent of international trade.
He said the WIF can help "today in international policy-making by helping bring about gradual reforms in international investment policies, making them more sustainable and sustainable-development friendly."
The Swiss president Alain Berset called for "more sustainable investment", saying the international community, the private sector, and civil society need to intensify efforts on sustainable development.
He said the public sector establishes a framework that is conducive to financial innovation and "in return, the private sector can apply significant leverage thanks to its know-how, creativity and financial strength."
Gabriela Cuevas, a Mexican senator who is president of the Geneva-based Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), said that sustainable growth will be one of the biggest challenges of the early 21st century.
The 2030 Agenda and its SDGs constitute the most ambitious plan "to counter poverty, inequality, environmental degradation and ultimately conflict ever crafted," said Cuevas in her remarks.
"We only have 12 years to change the Planet," she said, noting that financing the "global goals" means looking for new ways to mobilize private sector investment.
"The whole SDG enterprise can succeed only if governments, parliaments, civil society and the private sector work together," she noted.