Vienna, 1 December – The seventeenth session of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) General Conference has closed today with a renewed focus on the importance of partnerships to meet the ambitious goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
“Partnering for impact — achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)” was the theme of this year’s Conference, which brought together UNIDO Member States and its partners to agree on the strategic orientation of the Organization.
The seventeenth General Conference made extensive use of innovative solutions and social media throughout the four days. Featuring an EXPO, consisting of five interactive zones, it aimed to bring to life the work that UNIDO and partners do in the field of inclusive and sustainable industrial development (ISID). Virtual reality and various innovations were showcased over the course of the Conference, as well as a series of focus group discussions on topics from sustainable cities to biotechnology.
During the official opening session, the Director General, LI Yong, was re-appointed for a second four-year term. A number of partnership agreements and Memoranda of Understanding were signed over the course of the week, including with the Confederation of Switzerland, the Government of Italy, the Russian Federation, the People’s Republic of China, and the Eurasian Development Bank.
In LI’s second term, UNIDO will integrate and scale up operations. During the Sixth UNIDO ISID Forum, the gradual expansion of the Programme for Country Partnership approach in Cambodia and Kyrgyzstan was announced. This approach is an innovative, country-owned model to accelerate economic growth, create jobs and reduce poverty, while protecting the environment.
The UNIDO Donor Meeting 2017 highlighted the contribution of donors and UNIDO’s work through three panel discussions focused on some of the Organization’s top donors: the European Union, Japan, Sweden, and Finland.
UNIDO has been tasked with leading the implementation of the Third Industrial Development Decade for Africa (IDDA III) in collaboration with a range of partners. A side event entitled “IDDA III – Helping Africa leapfrog its industrial development” provided a platform to discuss how best to move forwards with the operationalization of IDDA III.
UNIDO’s side-event on “Industry 4.0 – The Opportunities Behind the Challenge”, introduced various new solutions and business opportunities, whilst focusing on the role of the international community in supporting institutions and enterprises to face the challenges of Industry 4.0. The first ever TEDx Talks to be held in the Vienna International Centre, focused on the circular economy and provided an ideal platform for UNIDO’s multi-stakeholder community to exchange and interact, and to explore innovative ideas related to green production.
UNIDO launched its 2018 Industrial Development Report on “Demand for Manufacturing: Driving Inclusive and Sustainable Development” during the Conference. By placing demand at the centre of attention, this year’s Report acknowledges the role of manufacturing industries as major providers of new and improved goods.
A major theme of the Conference was gender equality as two female Heads of State and numerous female Ministers represented their countries. The World Women Leaders Talk involved the President of the Republic of Malta, Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, in a high-level panel discussion, underlining the need for political leadership for the advancement of the 2030 Agenda. A Breakfast Meeting on “Partnering for Impact: Advancing Gender Equality in Industry to Achieve the 2030 Agenda” focused on the need to work together to combat prejudices and to create the necessary structures and policies to support women in entering industry.
UNIDO will continue to work together with partners to address some of the biggest global challenges; poverty, unemployment, and climate change, ensuring that “no one is left behind”.
“Together we can achieve the most daunting tasks ahead,” stated LI in his closing remarks.
Watch the General Conference wrap-up video here.