Organized in cooperation with academic partners, including the Graduate Institute, Geneva, the Academy of International Business (AIB), the Society of International Economic Law (SIEL), and the European International Business Academy (EIBA) the academic conference session took the form of a multi-disciplinary dialogue to shape a future policy-orientated research agenda on “investment for development” for the next 15 years and beyond. Discussion focused on aspects of development in which corporate investment is crucial, and in which policy can play a pivotal role in ensuring that such investments is overall beneficial to countries, communities and individuals. The disciplines represented at the session include international business, international economics, investment law and development, though the intention is to widen the scope of disciplines further, as relevant.
Outcome and next steps
The current paradigm shift in policy from liberalization to greater regulation, as well as towards an emphasis on sustainable development goals, in the context of the transformation of the global economy over the last few decades, creates a great demand for research, policy analysis and consensus building among member states.
The time is thus opportune for UNCTAD and academia to join forces in establishing a common multidisciplinary research agenda, to be fostered and implemented through a research network. This joining of forces was discussed and the idea embraced during the multidisciplinary academic conference and a number of inter-related elements were agreed, including:
- First, a network for collaboration between researchers at UNCTAD, the academic community, policymakers and others (“the network”) should be established and built upon. The network is focused on researching for impact in developing countries, ultimately for the betterment of vulnerable countries and communities, primarily in the context of sustainable development.
- Secondly, the network will continue to refine a multidisciplinary research agenda on investment for development (MRAID), bearing in mind that it is a living document, which is policy and future-orientated and multidisciplinary in approach.
- Thirdly, a number of processes and outputs will be established or further developed to achieve the aims and objectives of the network, including an electronic platform, joint projects and published outputs.
Finally, an organisation structure will be devised to further this work, encompassing perhaps an advisory council, executive committee and network teams/focal points, working closely with network partners.