Blockchains For Sustainable Development

The UNCTAD World Investment Forum is the pre-eminent global platform for investment and development.
Wednesday, October 24th, 2018
10am – 1pm
Room XIX, Building E,
Palais des Nations, Geneva
Sign-Up to Receive Invites to Networking Events & Conference Updates

There are no fees for this event, however places are limited & registration is required

About Blockchains for Sustainable Development

The bi-annual World Investment Forum, which will be held from October 22-26, 2018 at the Palais des Nations – United Nations Headquarters in Geneva, is the top global gathering of trade and investment policy makers and their stakeholders. We expect 5,000+ participants to attend the World Investment Forum, and Room XIX at the Palais des Nations can seat 940 individuals.

Room XIX Palais des Nations


Blockchain technologies may have a profound impact on development-oriented investment, not only by revolutionizing global payment systems but also through improvements to access to finance, supply chain management, digital identities or land registries (through decentralized applications). This impact goes beyond traditional financial services and business processes and extends to other industries important for the SDGs, such as agriculture, healthcare and transportation. Organized with the Institute for Leadership and Sustainability (IFLAS), University of Cumbria, the event will seek to develop ideas on how to increase the positive impact and minimize the negative effects of blockchain technologies on investment for development.


Detailed Description

Blockchain technologies, or distributed ledger technologies (DLT), have developed rapidly over the past few years. Starting in 2009 with Bitcoin, a decentralized digital currency (cryptocurrency), the technology has developed beyond a global payments system and started to also impact other areas, such as access to finance, supply chain management, digital identities, land registries or aid, through decentralized applications (dApps). Blockchain technologies may provide traditional financial services and business processes at much lower cost and with greater speed, security and transparency. Some traditional financial institutions are already starting to apply the technology to their business processes, but also other industries, such as agriculture, health care and transportation, are moving quickly toward trialing blockchain projects.

As blockchains might transform (and possibly disrupt) different industries, it presents both risks and opportunities to businesses, consumers and governments, and consequently new challenges for policymakers and regulators. Particular issues are raised by the expansion of blockchain-based cryptocurrencies or digital tokens. This session will feature presentations from both sides of the debate. It will provide an overview of key blockchain applications, with a special focus on implications for sustainable development and operations of multinational enterprises (MNEs). Given the diversity of changes these technologies are bringing about, there is also a diversity of government policy responses, from agnostic to positive and negative, which will also be part of the discussions during this session.

As changes are happening rapidly, both traditional industries and governments have so far been slow to adapt to the changing landscape. This comprehensive session will bring about a better understanding of blockchain technologies and their potential development implications. It will be of great value to all investment stakeholders, including policymakers, business leaders and civil society, in providing a high-level overview of the main developments in this field and allowing for an open and inclusive debate on the future of blockchains for sustainable development.

Issues for discussion:

  • The application of blockchain technologies in enterprise and finance
  • The risks and opportunities of blockchain for sustainable development
  • Regulatory and policy precedents, concerns and responses

This conference is an opportunity to meet those in government who are actively engaging with, or considering engaging with blockchain and cryptocurrency technologies, and the corporations and organizations who are actively implementing these technologies. This conference will therefore be your best opportunity meet the key high-level policy makers and stakeholders from around the world, who will be attending the World Investment Forum at the same time.