SDG Model Zones

in partnership with GASEZ
Session Type
Session Themes
Special Economic Zones
Room number
Hall 3 Room 9
Contact Email
18 October 2023
14:00 - 15:30 Abu Dhabi

Special economic zones (SEZs) in their various forms continue to spread around the world, particularly in developing countries. As the race towards the achievement of the SDGs is at its halfway point, how can SEZs contribute to an acceleration of progress and act as a transformational tool to drive finance and innovation towards sustainable development?

The Global Alliance of Special Economic Zones (GASEZ) is dedicated to advancing a new generation of SEZs for sustainable development. Since the launch of GASEZ at the WIF in 2021, its members, including UNCTAD and 7 national and regional associations of SEZs from across the globe, have been working on collective policy advocacy, sharing of best practices and knowledge development to push for the creation of new types of zones and for the transformation of existing zones to enhance their contributions towards the 2030 Agenda.

The SDG Model Zones session will present concrete examples of ahead-of-the-curve SEZs, their environmental, social and governance standards and practices, their approach to promoting sustainable-development-oriented investment, and the way in which they ensure inclusivity and benefits for their surroundings. The aim of the session is to identify replicable actions and initiatives for policymakers around the world.

Global Alliance of Special Economic Zones (GASEZ) was established in 2022 by UNCTAD together with seven global, regional and national associations representing over 7,000 SEZs. The alliance is dedicated to advancing a new generation of special economic zones for sustainable development.

Session themes:

  • How can SEZs lead the way as SDG Model Zones?
  • How can we measure and monitor the contributions of SEZs to the SDGs?
  • How can GASEZ and its members, as well as other associations and organizations, support the development or transformation of SDG Model Zones?


Director, Division on Investment and Enterprise, UNCTAD and Lead, UNCTAD World Investment Forum
Co-Founder, SunBox
President, International Association of Science Parks and Areas of Innovation (IASP)
President, Latin American Industrial Association (AILA)
President, Free Trade Zone Association of the Americas, Dominican Republic
Chief Executive Officer, Masdar City
Director of Sustainable Enterprises, Productivity and Just Transition Department, International Labour Organization (ILO)
Chief Knowledge Officer, World Free Zones Organization


Chief Editor, fDi Intelligence, Financial Times