VIENNA, 28 November 2011 – The Green Industry Initiative of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), which aims to accelerate the green growth of the manufacturing and related sectors and provides a platform to foster the positive role of industry in achieving sustainable development, is now a reality, according to UNIDO’s Director-General.
“One thing is clear: green industry is real. It is already here,” said Director-General Yumkella at the opening of the 14th session of the Organization’s General Conference in Vienna today. He called for stronger government policies, public-private partnerships, and collaboration between businesses, academia, technology providers, financial institutions and civil society to secure “greening” industrial development at the core of the green economy.
“UNIDO has been at the forefront of the industry and environment nexus for many years. Our assistance to countries in implementing the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, and the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, is clear evidence of that,” said Yumkella.
The five-day General Conference, UNIDO’s highest policymaking organ, brings together high-level Government officials and senior representatives of many international organizations, including from the European Union and the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States. The General Conference consists of all 174 UNIDO Member States. At the session, Member States will be elected to the Industrial Development Board and the Programme and Budget Committee of the Organization and in addition, there are several pending decisions for consideration, including the approval of the programme and budgets for the next biennium.
This year, the event has an overarching theme focused on “The new industrial revolution: making it sustainable”. This highlights the fact that inclusive and sustainable industrial development strategies are of critical importance to reconcile the three dimensions of sustainability: environmental, economic and social.
According to Yumkella, the fact that many developing countries were now seriously working towards greening their industry was an example of UNIDO’s contribution to the COP17 UN Climate Change Conference that opened in Durban today, as well as to the Rio+20 conference next year.
The Director-General also emphasized that a key element in the green economy was the provision of sustainable energy for all. “UNIDO’s message is: energy access matters for poverty reduction and wealth creation. It matters for business opportunities in Africa and elsewhere. That is why we have been building our coalition on energy through major events such as this year’s Vienna Energy Forum and the related ministerial meeting. Last week our theme for Africa Industrialization Day was “tackling energy poverty in Africa”.
The UN General Assembly named 2012 as the International Year of Sustainable Energy for All, placing energy at the heart of the multilateral process. As a constituent member of UN-Energy, UNIDO is playing a major role in driving the agenda forward and in supporting take-up of the global goals on energy access, energy efficiency and renewable energy.
The General Conference will feature an Industrial Development Forum, a high-level interactive panel discussion on “The New Industrial Revolution – Making it Sustainable”. The keynote address at the Forum will be delivered by Jeremy Rifkin, who will present his thought-provoking hypothesis on a new convergence of communication and energy which he termed the “Third Industrial Revolution”. Rifkin has argued that "the great pivotal economic changes in world history have occurred when new energy regimes converged with new communications regimes, and that when the convergence happens, society is restructured in wholly new ways".
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