UNIDO priorities

The Organization’s programmatic focus is structured in four thematic priorities, each of which represents different aspects of ISID:

Creating shared prosperity

As the primary driver of economic growth and employment creation, the private sector has a central role in poverty reduction and the achievement of the MDGs. Private sector led industrial development plays a significant role in bringing about the much needed structural changes that can set the economies of poor countries on a path of sustained economic growth. Industry provides a seedbed for entrepreneurship, promotes business investment, fosters technological upgrading and dynamism, improves human skills and creates skilled jobs, and through intersectoral linkages establishes the foundation for both agriculture and services to expand.

UNIDO provides a comprehensive set of services focused on encouraging the creation of jobs and income in order to overcome poverty. These services take into account special needs of developing countries ranging from consulting on industrial policy to entrepreneurship and SMEs development, from facilitating investment and technology promotion to development of rural energy for production use.

In developing countries, local SMEs are responsible for most of the economic activities that support productivity enhancement and poverty reduction. This is particularly the case with the agriculture-based economies in Africa and the LDCs, where the development of agro-based enterprises contributes to poverty reduction while at the same time enhancing productivity. In this context, building up and strengthening productive capacities through development of SMEs in competitive sectors takes a central role. The provision of affordable energy for productive use and income generation as well as the promotion of sustainable production in poor communities are essential elements of any sustainable economic development.

Advancing economic competitiveness

Technical capacities of developing countries to produce competitive export products that meet international standards are key conditions for their successful participation in international trade.

UNIDO is one of the largest providers of services related with trade and development, offering advice on specific issues as well as comprehensive technical cooperation in areas such as competitiveness, modernization and re-equipment of industry, compliance with international trade standards, experimental methods and metrology.

UNIDO helps developing countries and economies in transition to comply with international standards. Product traceability to ensure information on the source of produce is just one example of the global standards with which exporters need to comply in order to enter foreign markets. Manufacturers in developing countries and related industry support institutions need to develop systems to comply with the new management standards, and therefore require assistance in related capacity building, awareness building and the dissemination of the necessary know-how and information.

Safeguarding the environment

Fundamental changes in society’s attitudes to production and consumption are needed to achieve global sustainable development and successfully combat climate change.

Any progress on poverty eradication will be short-lived if we do not succeed in achieving the necessary economic growth within an environmentally sustainable framework.

The importance for promoting cleaner and resource efficient pathways to production, and the de-coupling of economic growth from environmental degradation, cannot be emphasized strongly enough.

We cannot deny that one side effect of industrialization is its considerable environmental footprint. There is no country that has yet fully resolved the issues of waste management, water purification and pollution. However, experience shows that environmentally sound interventions in manufacturing industries can be highly effective and significantly reduce environmental degradation.

In this context, the drive for innovation and process optimization, the core of any industrial upgrading effort, is an important means to develop the necessary solutions to realize cleaner production, efficient resource management and reductions in waste and pollution.

There is also an imperative to increase energy efficiency in industrial production. Since energy inputs represent an important cost of production for industries, clean energy and energy efficiency have progressively become core determinants of economic competitiveness and sustained growth.

Demanding to choose between industrial growth and sustainability is therefore the wrong approach. It is the transformation in production processes and business models – going hand-in-hand with the right choice of technologies – that will present the solutions to the daunting environmental challenges of our times.

Concrete action will depend on the country-specific challenges, endowments and levels of integration in the global economic system. Considering what matters most to policymakers today – how to sustain growth, to increase their country’s participation in international trade and globalization, to create lasting jobs that generate income, and to advance the overall wellbeing of their people– it comes as no surprise that sound industrial policymaking remains a top priority around the globe. At all levels of development, industry can be a primary driver in fighting poverty, ensuring food security, and preventing social polarization and fragmentation.

Strengthening knowledge and institutions

UNIDO aims to provide a comprehensive approach to country support by integrating our work across our services. We support advancing the technical, policy and normative knowledge base and strengthening the institutional capacity for ISID. We also support building the analytical, statistical and reporting capacity on industrialization-related matters, in the context of SDG monitoring and at the global, regional and national level. Moreover, we aim to strengthen the institutional capacity of countries for ISID.