The UNIDO Regional Office for South Asia covers seven countries – India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, Maldives and Afghanistan – and acts as a focal point to mobilize knowledge, information, skills and technology to promote competitive industry, productive employment and a sound environment by applying best practices and approaches to common problems of the region.
The core elements of UNIDO’s delivery of technical cooperation services in the South Asia region are to focus its activities in harmony with national policy priorities and development strategies; to build strong and long‐term partnerships with donors; to increase UNIDO’ visibility and image in the region; and to focus its assistance in a manner that addresses international development goals, especially the UN Millennium Development Goals, of reducing poverty and promoting implementation of national strategies for sustainable development.
A new Country Programme of Cooperation between India and UNIDO for the period 2008‐2012 was signed in Vienna on May 16, 2008. The US $ 42 million five‐year programme focuses on 1/ environment‐friendly technologies for raising the competitiveness and sustainable development of industry; 2/ Social capital and promotion of small and medium enterprises (SME) clusters; and 3/ South‐South cooperation.
UNIDO is currently executing a portfolio of 30 projects in India. 26 projects are India‐bound. The remaining four projects are of a global nature, including the UNIDO Centre for South‐South Industrial Cooperation (UCSSIC), International Centre for Advanced Manufacturing Technology (ICAMT), Technology Diffusion and Support Programme for Small Scale Industries (TDSP) and the Regional Network on Pesticides – Neem‐based – for Asia and the Pacific (RENPAP). The total value of the ongoing projects is US $ 30 million.
UNIDO Representation: The Regional Office in New Delhi (India) covering seven South Asian countries, headed by the Representative and Regional Director.
The main UNIDO projects in Bangladesh include the Bangladesh Quality Support Programme (BQSP), with emphasis on textiles and fisheries; and arsenic mitigation programmes. It is worth noting that a UNIDO project on the mitigation of arsenic poisoning for providing arsenic‐free drinking water in Bangladesh received recognition from the UN Foundation, together with a token US $ 20,000 prize.
Substantial expansion of UNIDO operations in Bangladesh is likely, following a request for UNIDO’s support for poverty alleviation through small and medium enterprises (SME) clusters, especially in training and technology transfer to further develop industrial clusters in Bangladesh.
UNIDO cooperation in the form of an Integrated Programme (IP) for Sri Lanka featuring a budget of over US $ 8 million is currently under implementation. The main IP projects under way are: Support for sustainable livelihood recovery among the conflict‐affected populations in the north and eastern regions through improved agricultural productivity and community‐based entrepreneurship; and Establishing sustainable, economical and secure renewable energy backed community development centres for post‐conflict and remote rural areas of Sri Lanka.
UNIDO Representation: Director of the UNIDO National Focal Point appointed recently by the Government.
One project of UNIDO cooperation at present under way relates to: Enabling activities to facilitate early action on the implementation of the Stockholm Convention for the elimination of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in Nepal.
UNIDO has been invited to join the UN Country Team in a project on cultural industries titled “ Promotion of Culture‐Based Creative Industries for Poverty Reduction, Community Vitalisation, and Youth and Women’s Self‐Employment”. There were further discussions on the project proposal during the Representative and Regional Director’s recent visit to Thimpu in February 2008.
A small, but open economy that is very strong on tourism, and the lowest poverty level in South Asia. No UNIDO cooperation project under way as of now.
An Integrated Programme articulates UNIDO’s assistance to Afghanistan over the years 2005‐2008. The emphasis is on an enabling environment conducive to business, and on capacity‐ building for employment and income generation. The total budget of the Programme is US $ 7.2 million. Two important projects accounted for bulk of the delivery – Emergency customs modernization and trade facilitation project: support for establishing the Afghan National Standards and Metrology Authority (Phase 1); and Assistance in reducing the humanitarian deficits of war‐affected rural communities through increased agricultural productivity and the promotion of auxiliary income‐generating activities. The Afghan National Standards Association (ANSA) has expressed deep appreciation of UNIDO’s support during phase 1 of the project on customs facilitation and trade capacity building done in cooperation with UNOPS and the World Bank, and has stated that a budget of US $ 17.9 million has been set aside for phase 2 of the project which would be entrusted to UNIDO by the end of 2008.
UNIDO Representation: Head of UNIDO Desk in Afghanistan appointed in 2008.