Investment Facilitation – A New Governance Approach to Promote Foreign Direct Investment for Sustainable Development

Photo by WTO/Flickr (altered) https://www.flickr.com/photos/world_trade_organization/38338987184/in/album-72157690815449785/

In order to reach the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), enormous amounts of investments are needed in areas like health, education, infrastructure, and the adaptation to climate change. To harness the advantages of foreign direct investment (FDI), it is critical that governments have policies and regulations in place that do not only help to attract and retain FDI but also enhance its contribution to sustainable development. In this context, discussions about the establishment of an international framework for investment facilitation have intensified in recent years.

The year ahead in 2019 – Think local when acting globally

Photo: Bridge and GlasballFor 2019, the global challenges are unlikely to become fewer than in 2018, based on the past experiences. The post-cold war international order as we knew it has taken a few blows again in 2018. Some key pillars and narratives are being shifted and challenge the stability of the international architecture. As often with foreign relations, it takes place in a context that consists of both global challenges and domestic priorities. Indicators for change will thus be located in domestic politics of some key countries. Without wanting to sound overly optimistic for a surely difficult year to come, some elements for a change are visible.

The G20 after the Buenos Aires Summit: It’s still relevant!

Photo: G20 Argentina Group

The assessments of global summits seem to be measured by new minimum standards, given the current state of international cooperation: The G20 concluded its summit in Buenos Aires on 1 December 2019 without any significant ruptures and with a joint declaration. This outcome was all but self-evident, after President Trump withdrew his consent to the communiqué of the last G7 Summit in Charlevoix, Canada, via Twitter while flying back to Washington. And at the recent APEC summit, the US and China clashed over trade issues and the meeting ended without a joint declaration – usually a diplomatic given. The recent intensification of the tensions between Russia and Ukraine as well as the international outcry against the killing of the Saudi government’s critic Jamal Khashoggi added to the challenges. G20 summitry watchers were therefore all but certain that the Buenos Aires summit could be concluded in an orderly fashion. It is a success for the Argentinian host that it did despite all the headwind.

International Economic Cooperation in Troubled Times: A Call for Strong Action by the G20


The leaders of the G20 will meet on 30 November and 1 December in Buenos Aires for their annual summit. They need to acknowledge that the last two years have been characterized by strong headwinds for the world economy. This time, however, it is not a mixture of poor macroeconomic policies and bad business decisions – as in 2008 when they met in Washington for their first summit – that endangers the well-being of billions of citizens around the globe. This time the threat stems from deliberate political decisions, in particular on trade.

The G20 @ 10 conference: Assessing the benefits, limitations and the future of global club governance in turbulent times

Photp: G20 Conference GroupIn Buenos Aires on 30 November and 1 December 2018, the G20 is having its 10th anniversary as a summit format at the leaders’ level. On 14 and 15 November 2008, this previously-obscure group of finance ministers and central bankers of the nineteen most “systemically relevant” countries and the EU was transformed into a forum for international leaders to meet with a view into the abyss of the global financial crisis that originated in the US and spread fast across the world. Ten years and 12 leaders’ summits later, the G20 has moved beyond its 2008-09 role as a crisis-management forum and became the self-described “premier forum for […] international economic cooperation.” In this capacity it is now facing new demands to tackle global challenges such as climate change, digitalization and pandemics. As its agenda has expanded and the urgency of the crisis fades, the G20 faces questions regarding its relationship to other formal institutions of global governance, such as the United Nations, its effectiveness in dealing with global challenges as well as its legitimacy and accountability vis-à-vis its people and the 174 non-members.