in partnership with UN Habitat
Session Type
Session Themes
Special Economic Zones
Room number
WIF Virtual Platform, room 2
Contact Email
20 October 2021
09:00 - 10:30 Europe/Zurich

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought to light some of the challenges associated with increased urbanization, including densely populated and poorly planned areas. Urban centres have not only been epicenters for the transmission of the COVID-19 virus, but also proved to be particularly challenging settings within which to respond effectively to the pandemic. Existing inter-urban inequalities are likely to be exacerbated, with the most vulnerable sectors of society, including urban informal sectors, being the hardest hit by the negative economic consequences of the crisis.

Special economic zones (SEZs) can play an important role in fostering more sustainable, resilient cities and urban centers. This specialized event will allow participants to exchange experiences about how the “SEZ city link” has been successfully developed across countries and to discuss its role in achieving a resilient recovery post-pandemic and contribute to sustainable development.  Specific attention will be given to the important facilitating role of local economic actors, including investment promotion agencies (IPAs) and city-level leaders, in collaborating and working together with SEZs.

Issues to be addressed

  • The role of SEZs, IPAs and city-level actors in contributing to sustainable urbanization.
  • How can linkages between SEZs and the city-level domestic private sector be facilitated?
  • Ways that SEZs, IPAs and city level actors can facilitate investment in key SDG related sectors post-pandemic.


Head, Investment Research Branch, UNCTAD
Acting City Manager, eThekwini Municipality, South Africa
Director General, Invest Hong Kong
CEO, Grupo Zona Franca Bogotá
Deputy-CEO, Qatar Free Zones Authority
Economic Affairs Officer, UNCTAD
Programme Management Officer and Urban Lab Lead, UN-Habitat


Editor, FDI Intelligence, Financial Times