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General Conference, Eighth session

Daily Highlights: 1 December 1999

Morning plenary meeting: UNIDO Forum on Sustainable Industrial Development

Panel 4: "The UNIDO Partnership Programme - A New Approach to Promoting Small and Medium Enterprises"

The Panel dealt with a unique partnership approach developed by UNIDO between representatives of local and international public and private sector entities to promote the technological upgrading of local SMEs and their integration into global value chains. The pioneering project of the UNIDO Partnership Programme, designed to assist Indian automotive component manufacturers to produce car parts that meet international quality standards, was launched in Vienna last November. The cooperation agreements were signed by UNIDO and FIAT S.p.A., the Automotive Research Association of India, the Automotive Component Manufacturers Association of India, the Prince of Wales Business Leaders Forum and France's INSEAD Business School in the presence of the Secretary of Ministry of Industry of India.

The Panel's moderator Wilfried Luetkenhorst explained how some of the concepts discussed in earlier panels are being put into practical application. He also noted the need to experiment and test new models of industrial development. His comments were supported by two key-note speakers Mr. Ajit Kumar, Permanent Secretary of the Indian Ministry of Industry and Mr. Mauro Pasquero, Senior Vice President for International Affairs of FIAT S.p.A.

Panelists - representing the partner bodies of the programme - spoke about the programme as a successful and cost-effective vehicle for promoting industrial development by allowing the various parties in the enterprise to contribute their own specific strength. They expressed their full satisfaction with its objectives, design and achievements. Present were: Mr. Robert Davies, Chief Executive of the Prince of Wales Business Leaders Forum, Mr. Dinesh Munot, President of Indian Automotive Component Manufacturers Association, Mr. M.S. Ogale, Assistant Director of Indian Automotive Research Association, Mr. Jean-Pierre Brouquil, International Business Development Director at Magneti Marelli , Professor Shantanu Bhattacharya of European Institute for Management (INSEAD) and Yasuo Konishi, UNIDO programme leader.

Panel 5: "Integration, Agglomeration and Interaction in World Industry - Drawing Some Lessons", Summary by the Director-General

Concluding the Forum on Sustainable Industrial Development, Director-General Carlos Magariños said, "What has been learned during this Forum places UNIDO on track to become a prime agency helping developing and transition economies to adopt and implement a third generation of reforms which will bring medium-term productivity improvements that are absolutely crucial for maintaining democratic support for economic reform processes". Following the introduction of the first generations of reforms aimed at macroeconomic stabilization and structural adjustment with one-off productivity gains and the second generation's focus on institution building or long-term aims, this third generation would mobilize technology, skills and knowledge for the private sector. Photo: Mr. Magariños concluding the Forum

Mr. Magariños summarized the most important points made during the five panels saying, "We have heard that the forces of industrial agglomeration tend to increase inequalities in economic development both between and within countries and that competition is increasingly driven by non-price factors such as product quality, delivery speed, design and product-related services". Also emphasized was that the integration of developing countries, and particularly their small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), into global production networks and value chains required continuous upgrading and the creation of national innovation systems.

Mr. Magariños noted that the Forum yielded several important policy considerations. These, he argued, underscored the need for a third generation of economic reforms which "would connect people with the global economy through a supply-side response for example, the development of new, productivity-raising SMEs connected by national and foreign investment to national and international value chains".

Afternoon plenary meeting: General debate

Statements were made by the representatives of India (on behalf of the Group 77 and China), Finland (on behalf of the European Union, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Hungary, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia), Ecuador (on behalf of GRULAC), Senegal, Algeria, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Slovakia, Saudi Arabia, Japan, Sri Lanka, India, Thailand, Italy, Nigeria, Tunisia, Pakistan, Bulgaria, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Romania, Bolivia, Haiti, Mauritius, Cambodia, the Observer of the Holy See, United Nations Development Programme and the Arab Industrial Development and Mining Organization.