By Funmi Emmanuel, Abuja.
The United Nations Industrial Development Organisation, UNIDO said it organised its first forum on strategies and instruments for achieving inclusive and sustainable industrial development.
A statement by the organisation said over 300 participants, including ministers and government officials, representatives of UNIDO Member States and experts in the field attended the forum held in Vienna.
It quoted UNIDO Director General Li Yong as saying, “I believe that in order to achieve inclusive and sustainable industrial development, we need platforms, such as this Forum, to exchange experiences and knowledge and build partnerships”.
“In this way, we can ensure that the strategies, policies and instruments for inclusive and sustainable industrial development we develop and implement will have a maximum impact.
“UNIDO believes that sustainable industrialization is universal, and our Objective is for industrialization to be a stand-alone Sustainable Development Goal, within the overarching combined objectives of poverty eradication, shared prosperity, and stronger environmental safeguards.
“We believe that sustainable industrialization is necessary for achieving these three overarching objectives, by providing effective solutions to tackle economic deprivation, social inequality and environmental degradation”, he stressed.
Yong further stated that “UNIDO offers a range of services to Member States. We have learned, also through my bilateral meetings with delegations that many countries are planning to set up industrial parks and zones”.
“We also heard from practitioners that this comes with opportunities and risks. The risks can be minimized through appropriate governance and partnerships, with the private sector, academia, governments and international organizations,” he said.
The director general added that UNIDO was committed to supporting Member States in designing and implementing strategies and policies for pursuing inclusive and sustainable industrial development.
“We have a rich experience in industrial development and we are the only UN agency mandated with this role. But we cannot work alone. We will work in partnership with you, with other agencies and institutions,” Yong said.
The statement informed that during lively debates, participants at the forum agreed that governments have a vital role to play in supporting industrial development, adding that they also agreed that there is no one-size-fits-all approach.
It said speakers offered concrete examples of rapid industrialization as well as lessons, both positive and negative, saying that both hard and soft business infrastructure play important roles, and agreed that both developing and implementing strategies and instruments for inclusive and sustainable industrial development share equal importance.