Participants of the regional seminar on facilitating investment in SDG projects.

Stakeholders from across the Caribbean region are currently in St. Kitts and Nevis attending a three-day seminar that seeks to strengthen the capacity of developing countries to attract and benefit from investment in Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) related sectors through enhanced investment facilitation.

The Sustainable Development Goals were adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015 as a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure all people enjoy peace and prosperity by 2030.

This week’s seminar, being held at the St. Kitts Marriott Resort Nov. 26-28, is facilitated by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), in collaboration with the European Union (EU), the Caribbean Association of Investment Promotion Agencies (CAIPA), the Caribbean Export Development Agency and the St. Kitts Investment Promotion Agency (SKIPA).

Deputy Prime Minister the Honourable Shawn Richards addressed the opening of the seminar, saying the ability of Small Island Developing States to attract foreign direct investments is often hindered by economic challenges such as high transport cost and trading costs.

The Deputy Prime Minister cited the findings of the 2019 UNCTAD World Investment Report, which stated that foreign direct investment in Small Island Developing States remains fragile and dependent on few capital intensive projects in construction, as well as the hotel and tourism sectors.

“Priority areas for attracting foreign direct investment inflows should therefore entail health and nutrition, food and agriculture, among other high impact areas for sustainability. Attracting investments in health and nutrition, food and agriculture would specifically target the UN Sustainable Development Goals SDG #1, which speaks to poverty, #2 which speaks to zero hunger, and #3 which speaks to good health and wellbeing,” the Deputy Prime Minister said.

Minister Richards said greater focus on impact investing, which he described as investments that have the expressed intention of generating a measurable, positive social or environmental impact, in addition to a financial return, is needed in the region.

“Impact investments promote sustainability, specifically towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals,” he said.

Areas of discussion over the next three days include fostering business linkages for the Sustainable Development Goals, facilitating investment financing in SDG projects and reform of the International Investment Agreements (IIAs) regime.