Mexico City, Mexico, 26-27 November 2001
The inaugural conference of the OECD Global Forum on International Investment aimed to foster an open and inclusive dialogue on emerging investment issues among the international investment policy community and other main stakeholders. The main theme of the conference, hosted by the Government of Mexico, was "New Horizons and Policy Challenges for Foreign Direct Investment in the 21st Century".
It is increasingly recognised that within the right policy setting foreign direct investment (FDI) can be a powerful engine for sustainable growth and integration of nations at various levels of development into the world economy. Governments in all continents now compete actively for FDI. The international community has intensified efforts to assist less developed countries in this process. Hence, as we enter into the 21st century, despite the anticipated decline in FDI flows in 2001, opportunities for reaping the full benefits of inward direct investment and achieving a better world for all remain high in the long run. Today FDI is needed more than ever to achieve sustainable development and poverty reduction.
At the same time, this prospect poses new challenges. Host and home governments need to move beyond traditional liberal FDI policy to embrace and develop a broader set of policies for an enabling environment for investment: respect for workers and environmental rights, competition, taxation, financial markets, trade, corporate governance, public administration, and other public policy goals. Building the capacity to formulate and implement these policies has become an equally important and pressing challenge. How and in what ways can policy frameworks be developed to ensure that multinational enterprises contribute to development goals and capacity building also remains a priority issue on the international agenda.
Special sessions and panels during the two-day conference focused on emerging FDI trends and policy challenges, discussed benefits and costs of FDI for development in host economies, elaborated on government policy design and governance structures to attract and maximise benefits of, inward direct investment, and considered how best multinational enterprises can contribute to development. The concluding session will highlighted main policy messages resulting from the conference deliberations.
The conference addressed these challenges with a view to contributing to improved common understanding on the conditions for increasing benefits of FDI. At the same time, it laid the groundwork for further co-operation and experience sharing between OECD member countries, non-members, private sector practitioners, trade unions, NGOs and other main partners. The conference also aimed to contribute input to the UN International Conference on Financing for Development which will take place in Mexico in March 2002.
This conference represented the first event within the framework of the OECD Global Forum on International Investment, established this year within the framework of the Center for Co-operation with Non-Members to foster an open and inclusive dialogue on emerging investment issues among the international investment policy community and other main stakeholders.
Participants included government officials from OECD and non-Member economies in charge of investment policy, promotion and development issues. World Bank Group, IMF, UNIDO, UNECE, APEC, Inter-American Development Bank, Asian Development Bank, EBRD, and European Commission are among the multilateral/regional organisation partners to be invited. There was a strong presence from business, labour and civil society organisations.