Launch of the World Investment Report 2014

Jun 24, 2014

Yang Berbahagia Dato’ Azman Mahmod, CEO of MIDA

Dr. Masataka Fujita, Chief of the Investment Trends Section, Division on Investment and Enterprise of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)

Excellencies and members of the Diplomatic Corps

The United Nations Country Team

Distinguished Guests

Members of the Media

Ladies and Gentlemen

Salam sejahtera and a very good afternoon!

It is an honour for the UN Country Team in Malaysia to partner once again with MIDA to launch the 2014 World Investment Report, which has been produced annually by UNCTAD since 1991. This year’s theme of “Investing in the SDGs: An Action Plan” is especially appropriate as governments around the world focus their attention on defining the next generation global development agenda to build on the remarkable progress inspired by the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and on the means of implementation of that global agenda.  As you all know, the MDG framework comes to an end in 2015; and presents an opportunity for countries to take stock, assess their MDG scorecard, and define their unfinished development agenda to accelerate progress towards development that is inclusive and sustainable, and that will expand the opportunities and choices available to citizens for fulfilment of their potential and enhanced quality of life.

As Malaysia takes stock of its own progress over the last 15 years against the targets set in its national development plans, the MDGs and other global commitments including targets for sustainable energy, and for management of climate variability and change and biodiversity, we look forward to Malaysia’s strong voice in shaping the future global development agenda that is more inclusive and respects our planetary boundaries.  We therefore count on Malaysia’s  active engagement in the ongoing intergovernmental negotiating process, as well as through citizen participation in the global discussions on the post-2015 agenda.

The UN system has adopted an unprecedented approach to supporting the intergovernmental process to formulate the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals (or SDGs).  The UN supported extensive global, regional and national consultations on the “World We Want” in over 88 countries, starting in 2012, capturing the aspirations of more than a million of the world’s citizens, and for the first time, truly injecting the voice of “we the people” into global decision-making. These consultations are now moving into their second phase at the request of UN member states, in close to 40 countries, including Malaysia, and are focussed on the means of implementation to secure achievement of the sustainable development goals that will eventually be adopted. The objective of this new approach is to engage all stakeholders, public and private, academia, civil society, NGOs and interested citizens; and to seek and include the voices of those most marginalised and vulnerable, including women - those whose voices that are often unheard in the process of development planning -  and to tap the pool of experts and experiences from every part of the world.

Here in Malaysia, the UN Country Team together with the Economic Planning Unit of the Prime Minister’s Department, are organising national consultations in Kuala Lumpur, Sabah and Sarawak, starting next week.  These three face-to-face consultations will be complemented by focus group discussions and online consultations, so that Malaysians from all walks of life can be part of, and help to shape this important agenda to influence the quality of their lives. I urge you to follow us and contribute your ideas and perspectives via hashtag #MsiaWeWant.

Ladies and gentlemen,

We see from the 2014 World Investment Report that Malaysia has continued to be a favoured location for foreign direct investments (FDI), recording a 22 percent increase to 12 billion dollars in 2013, capturing the spot as the seventh largest recipient of FDI in developing Asia, ahead of the Republic of Korea, Vietnam and Taiwan. But in Malaysia, as in the rest of the world, our concern is that the level of investment in sectors relevant to the achievement of sustainable development goals or SDGs remains insufficient.

As UNCTAD notes, estimates for total investment needs in developing countries alone for basic infrastructure such as roads, rail and ports; power stations; water and sanitation; and for food security, climate change adaptation and mitigation, health and education, range from $3.3 trillion to $4.5 trillion per year.  At today’s level of investment in SDG-related sectors in developing countries – both public and private – we still face, according to UNCTAD’s estimates, an average annual funding shortfall over the next 15 years following the end of the MDG period of some $2.5 trillion.

Advances in human development will be constrained without private and public investments that contribute to development that is both inclusive and sustainable.  It is important to stress that sustainability is not exclusively, or even primarily, an environmental issue as many are wont to think.  As the UN noted in UNDP’s global human development report in 2011, sustainability is “fundamentally about how we choose to live our lives, with awareness that everything we do has consequences for the 7 billion of us here today, as well as for the billions more who will follow, for centuries to come. UNCTAD’s message in this year’s World Investment Report highlighting the important linkages between trade and investment and sustainable development is therefore urgent and we hope will help to propel the step-change required in both public and private investment in developing countries.

For the step-change the world needs, government entities like MIDA play an important role in strategically mobilising, nurturing and incentivising investments towards achieving long-term development targets. And the UN Country Team in Malaysia, comprising 16 resident and non-resident UN agencies, programmes and funds that work in a coordinated way to leverage the expertise and experiences available in the UN system from its development work around the world, looks forward to forging strategic partnerships with public and private actors who wish to their channel efforts towards sustainable development.

We need to reorient the investment of national wealth, as well as consumption and production patterns for sustainable development for all and to secure the world we want for ourselves and our children. We do hope that UNCTAD’s recommendations for a Strategic Framework for increased private sector investment in sectors such as infrastructure, food security and climate change mitigation will be given due consideration.

The World Investment Report 2014 is no doubt a valuable tool in development planning and I believe that the recommendations and policy options that have been presented in this Report could provide useful input in the formulation of the 11th Malaysia Plan, for the crucial next five (5) years when we need to see accelerated progress in the run up to the fulfilment of Malaysia’s Vision 2020.

With that, please allow me, on behalf on the UN Country Team, to congratulate UNCTAD on its Report and to renew on behalf of the UN system our commitment and support to the government of Malaysia and its people in achieving the aspirations for further development progress and to improve lives – for the Malaysia we want.

And so in closing, I urge you all to join the national conversation at #MsiaWeWant.

Thank you.

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