Skip to main content

Addressing the need for skills development in global supply chains at the LKDF Forum 2023

16 November 2023

Addressing the need for skills development in global supply chains at the LKDF Forum 2023

VIENNA, 14 November 2023 - On the 13th and 14th of November 2023, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO)’s Learning and Knowledge Development Facility (LKDF), together with the Forum on Globalization and Industrialization (FGI) and the Research Network on Sustainable Supply Chains, and with the support of the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) and the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation (BMZ), convened the LKDF Forum under the theme "Skills for Sustainability in Global Supply Chains”. The forum took place both online and in-person at UNIDO's headquarters at the Vienna International Center (VIC). 

With an estimated 450 million people working in global supply chains and 7 out of 10 youth being economically disengaged due to a lack of skills to succeed within the labor market UNIDO's LKDF convened its annual flagship event in bid of advancing skill development in the context of improving sustainability compliance in global supply chains, while highlighting the necessity of building resilience in workers and organizations to withstand the challenges faced by global supply chains amidst various crises. 

Gunther Beger, Managing Director of the Directorate for SDG Innovation and Economic Transformation delivered opening remarks in light of said skills concerns - concluding that the sustainability skills gap within global supply chains is “no longer a sectoral but global issue and that“we [must] continue to pioneer change and […] foster concrete outcomes and action” by emphasizing the importance of improving skills and knowledge relevant to inclusive and sustainable industrial development. Ultimately, calling for collective action between the forum’s participants to take initiative in cultivating an action-oriented dialogue on the importance of skills for sustainable industrialization, with a special focus on developing and industrializing countries. 

Assistant Director General and leader of the Department of Partnership and Innovation at Sida, Alan AtKisson stressed that “the challenges we face in achieving a sustainable future are daunting, but they are also full of possibility.”

Acknowledging the pressing need for skills development in ensuring resilient global supply chains, the forum gathered a diverse audience including representatives from public and private sectors, international organizations, civil society, academia, and country representatives. The forum also drew participation from esteemed guests such as representatives from the Swedish International Development Cooperation (Sida), the German Institute of Global and Area Studies (GIGA), Deloitte, the KEDGE Business School, the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ), Amfori, the Stockholm University, Nokia, DHL, the Buhler Group, the International Coffee Organization (ICO),  International Finance Corporation (IFC), the International Labour Organization (ILO), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the European Training Foundation (ETF) and the UN Global Compact.

After a session for setting the scene focusing on the vital skills necessary for fostering sustainable supply chains, the forum featured three panels discussing the capacities needed to enhance the sustainability of production in global supply chains, the challenges and solutions related to developing sustainable supply chain skills, emphasizing the potential of collaborations to inspire actionable strategies and the global efforts from the international community in promoting skills development for sustainable supply chains. Mattias Larsen, Industrial Development Expert at UNIDO, emphasized the successes and the need to build more public-private development partnerships to bridge the need for comprehensive skills development - placing individuals as the essential elements for fostering more sustainable supply chains. 

Closing the forum, Virpi Stucki, Chief of the Division for Fair Production, Sustainability Standards and Trade at UNIDO, emphasized the necessity of consensus and especially concrete plans among partners to facilitate reskilling and upskilling initiatives, especially focusing on “the root causes of unsustainable practices”. Ultimately calling for further progress in fostering as well as complying with sustainability standards and modalities to establish robust and inclusive skills standards aligned with the present and future demands of sustainable global supply chains.

The second day of the LKDF Forum 2023 consisted of a co-creation workshop facilitated by the UNIDO’s Innovation Lab and a research workshop facilitated by GIGA in which participants had the opportunity to engage further in actionable outcomes. UNIDO’s co-creation workshop fostered deeper exchanges among participants from public, private and development sectors, laying the groundwork for potential collaborations based on shared interests across various industries. The LKDF’s founding members, the Volvo Group and FESTO, shared  their 10 year long experience of working together with UNIDO in Public Private Development Partnerships (PPDPs), highlighting the effectiveness of long-term partnerships in driving sustainable solutions forward.

For more information, please contact:

The Learning and Knowledge Development Facility (LKDF)

Official recording of the LKDF Forum 2023 will be available in due course on the LKDF Youtube channel.