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The Industrial Innovation Forum (IIF) is a flagship side event of UNIDO's 20th General Conference. Rooted in the very essence of UNIDO's mission, the IIF underscores the fundamental role of political will in driving the pursuit of transformative solutions to the world's most pressing challenges. This side event comprises three distinct panels, each thoughtfully aligned with UNIDO's new priorities and crucial facets of global development. It serves as a dynamic platform that unites high-level speakers from governments, industry leaders, academia, and financial institutions, fostering collaboration to identify and implement tangible solutions to our shared challenges.

1. Ending hunger is possible - UNIDO's contribution

Despite advances, 735 million people face food insecurity, but a world without hunger is achievable through innovation from farm to fork.

This panel will discuss policies and strategic outlook needed to accelerate food systems transformation and ensure food security, focusing on reducing post-harvest losses, improving food quality control, and promoting agribusiness and sustainable food supply chains.

Ambassador Isiaka Abdulqadir Imam

Ambassador Isiaka Abdulqadir Imam, Secretary-General, D-8 Organization for Economic Cooperation

Ambassador Isiaka Abdulqadir Imam, a seasoned Nigerian Diplomat, assumed the role of Secretary-General of the D-8 Organization for Economic Cooperation in January 2022. Joining the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in 1993, he held key diplomatic positions, including serving as Charge d’Affaires ad-interim in Brasilia, Brazil, and various roles in Nigeria’s Diplomatic Missions in Jeddah, Pretoria, and Tokyo. At the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Headquarters, he worked in different departments, including the Bilateral and Multilateral Departments. The title of Ambassador in situ was conferred upon him by the President of Nigeria in 2020.

Ms. Beverley Postma

Ms. Beverley Postma, Executive Director, Grow Asia

Ms. Beverley Postma is the Executive Director of Grow Asia, a multi-stakeholder platform established by the World Economic Forum and the ASEAN Secretariat to build sustainable food systems in Southeast Asia. Bev was previously CEO of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, CEO of HarvestPlus, Founder and Executive Director of Food Industry Asia, and held senior corporate affairs and marketing roles with Kellogg’s in Europe and Syngenta in Asia. She is an expert member of World Bank Group's G7 Action Plan on Inclusive Value Chains & Fair Production and the World Economic Forum’s E15 Task Force on Regulatory Systems Coherence.

Gerardo Patacconi

Mr. Gerardo Patacconi, Head of Operations, International Coffee Organization

Mr. Gerardo Patacconi has been the Head of Operations at the International Coffee Organization since 2018. Prior to this role, he gained experience in the private sector, working in manufacturing and banking in Italy. In 1987, he joined UNIDO as an Associate Expert in Papua New Guinea, eventually leading the UNIDO Department of Agribusiness Development. He has successfully helped building Public-Private Partnerships covering agribusiness, the coffee sector and creativity value chains. He is regularly invited to contribute to specialized magazines and newspapers and as speaker or moderator in international events.

Ms. Elfi Klumpp, Head of Partnership Development, Festo Didactic SE

Ms. Elfi Klumpp, Head of Partnership Development, Festo Didactic SE

Elfi Klumpp is Head of Partnership Development at Festo Didactic in Esslingen Germany, a member of the Festo Group, a global technology leader in automation and education. Within various positions since 1989 she has been responsible for numerous international large-scale projects. She developed a proven record in the field of skills development for employability and sustainable growth. From 2005-2018 she served as Board Member of the WorldSkills Organisation (an NGO for the global hub of technical and vocational skills competitions) and as Presidium Member of Worlddidac (global association of the education industry); in 2019 she has been appointed Worlddidac’s Ambassador for Education and Skills Development. The Private Sector Partnership – Festo-UNIDO – since more than 20 years falls under her responsibility. Elfi holds degrees in Business Administration and Economics.

2. Sustainable supply chains: Achieving fair globalization

Around 80% of world trade relies on global supply chains, supporting the livelihoods of an estimated 450 million people. However, many products and raw materials are manufactured or sourced in ways that negatively impact both people and the planet.

This panel will discuss the importance of ensuring a fair globalization, including better protection of human rights and the environment. It will reflect on the emerging legislative landscape on mandatory due diligence and explore transformative strategies for achieving sustainable supply chains.

Mercedes Araoz

Ms. Mercedes Araoz Fernandez, Professor of International Economics and Public Policy, Universidad del Pacifico in Lima, Peru

Ms. Araoz Fernández is a Peruvian economist, professor, and politician who served as Second Vice President of Peru from 2016 to 2020. At the beginning of her political career, she served as Minister of Foreign Trade and Tourism from 2006 to July 2009, after which she was appointed as Minister of Production, and finally as Minister of Economy and Finance. Fernández attended University of the Pacific in Lima, where she studied economics, and later obtained a Master's degree and a PhD in economics from the University of Miami in Coral Gables, United States of America. Araoz completed specialization courses in foreign trade policies at Harvard Kennedy School and at the Latin American Network of Commercial Policy in Buenos Aires. She also studied Coaching at Newfield Network, Santiago de Chile.

Andrea Illy

Mr. Andrea Illy, Chairman, Illycaffè

Mr. Illy is the Chairman of illycaffè, a family company and a certified B Corporation founded in 1933. For 22 years, until 2016, he served as the company’s Chief Executive Officer. He is co-founder of the Ernesto Illy Foundation and co-chair of the Regenerative Society Foundation. He received a degree in Chemistry from the University of Trieste, and an Executive MBA from SDA-Bocconi in Milan. Additionally, he earned a certificate from the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School, and studied Total Quality Management in Japan, Innovation at MIT, Exponential Technologies at Singularity University and Complexity Science at the University of Oxford.


Mr. Jochen Flasbarth, State Secretary in the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development

Jochen Flasbarth took office as State Secretary at the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development in December 2021. From 2013 to 2021, he was State Secretary at Germany’s Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety. Prior to that, he held the position of President of the Federal Environment Agency for four years. He studied economics, political science and philosophy in Münster and Bonn, graduating with a degree in economics in 1989.

3. Climate Action: Accelerating net-zero and climate resilient industrial development

The world is facing a climate catastrophe, with nearly half of the global population highly vulnerable to climate impacts and severe water shortages. Deadly heat stress threatens 30% of the population, rising to 50-70% by 2100.

This panel will explore the pivotal role of industry in addressing climate change, its impact as a major greenhouse gas emitter, its vulnerability to climate impacts, and its potential to provide technological solutions, green jobs, and influence global consumer behavior.

H.E. Mr. Gustav N. Aitaro

H.E. Mr. Gustav N. Aitaro, Minister of State, Palau

H.E. Gustav N. Aitaro became the Minister of State for the Republic of Palau in September 2021. He has extensive experience in international relations and served the Republic of Palau for more than 30 years in various positions in foreign affairs, international trade, and public administration. Earlier in his career, he served as Koror State Legislator. Mr. Aitaro has represented Palau in many delegations to international meetings and trade and investment commissions, including the Micronesian Chief Executives Summit and many others.

H.E. Mr. Ryad Mezzour, Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment and the Digital Economy, Morocco

H.E. Mr. Ryad Mezzour, Minister of Industry and Trade, Morocco

Mr. Ryad Mezzour had been Director of the Cabinet of the President of the Economic, Social and Environmental Council since 2013, before joining the Ministry of Industry, Trade, Green and Digital Economy in 2019 as Chief of Cabinet of then Minister Moulay Hafid Elalamy. Very involved in the economic and social environment, Mr. Ryad Mezzour was vice-president of the Green Economy Commission at the Moroccan confederation of business association (CGEM) between 2012 and 2015 and is a member of the board of several nonprofit institutions.

H.E. Mr. Kitiona Tausi, Minister of Fisheries and Trade, Tuvalu

H.E. Mr. Kitiona Tausi, Minister of Fisheries and Trade, Tuvalu

Kitiona Tausi (born December 1954) is a Tuvaluan politician. Tausi was elected to the Parliament of Tuvalu in the 2022 by-election to represent the Nanumanga electorate. He has been appointed to a number of Tuvaluan government and non-government organisations, including: Tuvalu Association of Non Government Organizations (TANGO), the Tuvalu National Private Sector Organisation (TNPSO), and prior to his election as a member of parliament he was the chairman of the Tuvalu Broadcasting Corporation (TVBC) board of directors.

Mr. Stefan Borgas, Chief Executive Officer, RHI Magnesita

Mr. Stefan Borgas, Chief Executive Officer, RHI Magnesita

Having studied business management at the University of Saarbrücken (Germany) and the University of St. Gallen (Switzerland), Stefan Borgas, 58, started his career in the chemical industry. After joining BASF, he held several management positions in the US, Germany and China and was responsible as Vice President for the business unit “Fine Chemicals” from 2002. In 2004, he was appointed CEO in the Management Board of the Swiss Lonza Group and transformed the company into a leading life science group. In 2012, he joined the special chemicals manufacturer Israel Chemicals Ltd. as President & CEO. Since 2016 Stefan Borgas is CEO of RHI Magnesita – world’s largest supplier of refractories and services – with Headquarter in Vienna, Austria.