When the Heads of State and Government, Ministers, and other official representatives, gathered in 2013 at the fifteenth session of the General Conference of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) in Peru’s capital Lima, they agreed that eradication of poverty – Goal 1 of UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – deserves priority.
Six years on, industrial development for poverty reduction, inclusive globalization and environmental sustainability will be the principal issues at the eighteenth session of the UNIDO General Conference in Abu Dhabi, from November 3 to 7 at the invitation of the Government of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
UNIDO’s mission, as described in the Lima Declaration, is to promote and accelerate inclusive and sustainable industrial development (ISID) in Member States – 168 as of May 2018. The relevance of ISID as an integrated approach to all three pillars of sustainable development is recognized by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the related SDGs, which will guide UN and country efforts towards sustainable development in the next 12 years.
UNIDO’s mandate is fully recognized in Goal 9 of the 17 SDGs, which calls to ‘Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation’. The relevance of ISID, however, applies in greater or lesser extent to all SDGs.
Accordingly, the Organization’s programmatic focus is structured in four strategic priorities: creating shared prosperity; advancing economic competitiveness; safeguarding the environment; and strengthening knowledge and institutions.
The 2019 General Conference, which is UNIDO’s supreme policymaking organ where all Member States meet once every two years, will be preceded by UNIDO’s Least Developed Countries (LDCs) Ministerial Conference, which will also be hosted in Abu Dhabi.
LDCs are low-income countries confronting severe structural impediments to sustainable development. They are highly vulnerable to economic and environmental shocks and have low levels of human assets.
It is the fourth time that since becoming a specialized agency of the United Nations, UNIDO’s General Conference, which determines the guiding principles and policies of the Organization, approves the budget and work programme, will be held away from its Vienna Headquarters. Previously, apart from Lima (Peru) in 2013, Yaoundé (Cameroon) in 1993 and Bangkok (Thailand) in 1987 served as venues away from Vienna.
“We highly appreciate the generous offer of the Government of the United Arab Emirates to host the eighteenth session of the UNIDO General Conference in Abu Dhabi,” says UNIDO Director General LI Yong.
“I look forward to further strengthening our ties, especially since UNIDO and the United Arab Emirates UAE share the commitment to take a transformational approach towards shaping the future of manufacturing and jointly co-chair the Global Manufacturing and Industrialisation Summit (GMIS),” he adds.
The GMIS was established in 2015 as an industry association to build bridges between manufacturers, governments and non-government organisations (NGOs), technologists, and investors in harnessing the Fourth Industrial Revolution’s transformation of manufacturing to the regeneration of the global economy.
A joint initiative by the Ministry of Energy and Industry in UAE and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, GMIS considers itself a platform that presents the manufacturing sector with an opportunity to contribute towards global good, working to the benefit of all.
“Spreading global prosperity is deeply instilled in the UAE and unlocking the potential of the manufacturing sector will support our efforts,” says UAE Minister of Energy and Industry Suhail Mohamed Faraj Al Mazrouei.
“However, the lines are blurred between the physical, digital, and biological spheres: the developments that the Fourth Industrial Revolution brings must be exploited to ensure prosperity is shared across all societies, particularly in developing countries,” he adds.
According to Badr Al Olama, Head of the Organising Committee, GMIS aims to ensure that, for manufacturing, the opportunity outstrips the uncertainty; that the Fourth Industrial Revolution’s impact on the sector is a regenerative one; and that manufacturing’s response to times of challenge is not only to define how it can prosper as an industry, but also how it can align itself with the objectives of the SDGs, in order to bring benefits that help to build stronger societies and communities, as well as stronger businesses.
Besides, GMIS seeks to illustrate the need to invest in our world’s greatest natural resource – people – and enable them to develop their skills to innovate and to reshape the world. It looks to envisage what the future workforce will look like and how can it be sustained.
Furthermore, it is committed to ensuring that economic growth, and the policies behind it, has manufacturing at its core, in recognition of the sector’s status as a powerhouse of industry, a key revenue-generator, a creator of jobs, and an essential spoke in the wheel of global prosperity.
In July 2019, the manufacturing community will get together in the city of Yekaterinburg – the industrial heartland of Russia – for the second edition of the Global Manufacturing and Industrialisation Summit, #GMIS2019.
First announced by President Vladimir Putin in May 2018, #GMIS2019 will be held under the theme of ‘nature-inspired technologies’ – also known as biomimetic design and biomimicry – which is the science of mapping design challenges to the natural world to find innovative solutions.
The 2019 summit will continue to intensify the impact of innovation and Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies on the global manufacturing sector through the worldwide dissemination of knowledge, best practices and standards, while highlighting the role of manufacturing in enabling global prosperity through advancing the SDGs. [12 January 2019]
Photo: Skyline of Abu Dhabi, UAE, which will host 18th session of UNIDO’s General Conference in November 2019.