Tapping the sustainable development potential of investment
The ANIMA Investment Network, in collaboration with the UfM and the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ), is holding this month a series of workshops to help develop investments that contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the Mediterranean region.
28 April 2020. Increasing investments that contribute to the SDGs can be a development enabler: it can create jobs, build skills, spur innovation, provide essential infrastructure and services and boost economies. The ANIMA Investment Network, in collaboration with the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM), the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) as well as other partners, organised the first session of the online workshop called “Developing Investments that Contribute to Sustainable Development” on the 28 of April and the first project lab meeting on the 29 of April. Two more project lab meetings will follow on 30 April and 5 May 2020.
The opening session brought together stakeholders representing the ecosystem of investment developers with the aim of launching a new initiative called “Impact Invest”, designed to bring private sector investors on board to help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals in the Mediterranean region. The initiative will also seek to capitalise on the work of the existing UfM projects, EMIPO and EDILE, which allowed the UfM to better attract investments and assess their local impact.
In his introductory remarks, Abdelkader Betari, President of ANIMA Investment Network, highlighted that the current crisis revealed economic weaknesses and outlined the importance of mobilising private sector investments to fill the gap between the available resources, mainly public investments, and the resources needed to achieve the SDGs.
UfM Secretary General, Nasser Kamel, emphasised that even before the crisis, the task of Impact Invest was to help frame projects on climate mitigation and sustainable human development, as we cannot solely rely on public investment. Secretary General Kamel also insisted that post-pandemic recovery plans must remain in line with the SDGs, which are now much more relevant and urgent, as proven in the findings of the MedECC report, which indicated that the Mediterranean region is warming up 20% faster than the rest of the world. With this in mind, he announced that a new project is being launched in partnership with the R20 Foundation to create impactful investments in the field of climate action.
For his part, Emmanuel Noutary, General Delegate of ANIMA Investment Network, presented an ANIMA roadmap for directing private investment towards the financing of sustainable investment and, OECD Policy Analyst, Sarah Dayan, shared the outcomes of a study on foreign direct investment indicators to measure the sustainable development impacts of investments, with the aim of helping policymakers. Caroline Pozmentier, Vice-President of Region Provence Alpes Côte d’Azur, put forward the Climate Plan adopted in 2017 to make the region’s territory the driving force behind climate agreements, energy transition, renewable energy, protection of biodiversity, reduction of consumption and improving air quality.
As evidence of a specific national experience, Ola Elkobrosy, Deputy Executive Director at the General Authority For Investment And Free Zones Egypt (GAFI), showcased the Egyptian strategy, operational since 2018, to attract investments by putting in place an online investment map which provides potential investors with key information to make sound decisions and allows them to accomplish procedures electronically. Presenting the Spanish experience, Diego Guri, Assistant Director-General of the Association of Internationalised and Industrial Companies (AMEC) noted that AMEC’s aim is helping member companies to compete in a global market by favouring innovation. Douja Gharbi, Vice President of CONECT Tunisia, an employer’s syndicate organisation, shed light on the role of the private sector in promoting socially responsible business practices in Tunisia, by, for example, attributing a Corporate Social Responsibility label to companies. In conclusion, Johannes Laepple, Project Manager of GIZ, highlighted the relevance of Invest Impact, especially in the context of COVID-19 and the fact that private investment should be guided by the SDGs.
First project Lab, 29 April
Within the framework of the online workshop, a first project lab took place digitally on 29 April 2020, under the title “Conditions for creating the emergence of projects contributing to sustainable development at territorial level”. This meeting was attended by representatives of investment promotion agencies, local authorities, innovators, private sector and the civil society.
Participants discussed the need to define and categorise projects contributing to the SDGs and a number of projects were proposed on areas such as renewable energies, transport, access to water and industry. The meeting sought to identify how to help these projects emerge -including initiatives such as call for proposals, feasibility studies, creation of funds- and what preparation is needed to engineer the project before its promotion.
Two more Project Labs are being organized on 30 April and 5 May as a space for collective intelligence, bringing together public and private stakeholders to devise concrete approaches and feed the Impact Invest work plan.