ABU DHABI, 2 November 2019 – The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) held its 8th Ministerial Conference of the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) prior to the 18th Session of the General Conference. Chaired by the Ethiopian Minister of Trade and Industry, Fetlework Gebre-Egziabher, the Conference included thematic panel sessions between LDC ministers and representatives of international organizations and financial institutions to discuss opportunities for LDC industrialization beyond 2020.
“The aim of the 8th Ministerial Conference of the LDCs is to strategize ways forward for industrialization in LDCs by exploring how it has been achieved in other countries, and how it can be replicated”, said the UAE Minister of Energy and Industry Suhail Mohamed Mazrouei.
The Conference explored different achievements, best practices and lessons learned on an international, regional and national level, including UNIDO’s Programme for Country Partnership (PCP), which was among partnership approaches presented.
“UNIDO assists LDCs through analytical and policy advisory services, institutional capacity building and technical cooperation activities to enhance the contribution of industry to national socio-economic progress”, said UNIDO Director General LI Yong. “UNIDO currently implements 183 technical cooperation projects for LDCs that reflect on the Organization’s inclusive and sustainable industrial development priorities and their alignment with the Istanbul Plan of Action”.
The keynote statements were deepened by the two moderated high-level panel discussions. The first one, introduced by UNIDO Deputy Director General and Managing Director Hiroshi Kuniyoshi, focused on industrial policy instruments and strategies, advocating manufacturing as a transformative catalyst to propel the socio-economic transformation of LDCs. The second panel, which was introduced by UNIDO Managing Director Fatou Haidara, explored obstacles in LDC funding infrastructure, new and effective means of attracting ODA and private investments through public-private partnerships, and attracting financial flows from the LDCs.
“This Ministerial Conference of LDCs and its Ministerial Declaration are a major stepping stone towards conducting a comprehensive appraisal of the implementation of the Istanbul Programme of Action (IPOA) and agreeing on a strengthened partnership framework in support of the poorest Member States”, said the Deputy Prime Minister of Vanuatu and Vice-Chair of the Conference, Jotham Napat Nauka.
The Ministerial Declaration recognizes youth, women and marginalized groups, which need to be actively involved in the inclusive and sustainable industrial development of their countries and to encourage UN agencies to continue with the implementation of joint programmes, commending the UNIDO PCP approach. The aim is for the international community to come together for a successful organization of the Fifth UN Conference on LDCs (LDC V) to be held in Doha, Qatar, 2021.
The Ministerial Declaration was subsequently adopted by the Main Committee of the UNIDO General Conference, emphasising the importance of taking stock of lessons learnt as the IPoA is coming to an end and the relevance of UNIDO’s mandate ISID which is to be reflected in the next programme of action and adopted in Doha in 2021.
In light of the preparations for the upcoming LDC V in 2021, UNIDO has also launched its initiative Review and consolidation of outcomes: UNIDO Operational Strategy for LDCs 2012-2020 in the context of the Istanbul Programme of Action 2011-2020. The initiative will serve as a means in assessing UNIDO’s contribution in the implementation of IPoA so far, by consolidating the outcomes, identifying best practices and lessons learned with regard to UNIDO’s technical cooperation activities, global forum activities as well as assessing programmatic responses of UNIDO and other agencies specialised for LDCs. Thus, the outputs of the initiative will serve as a reference in developing, a strategic framework for UNIDO’s programmatic work on LDCs beyond 2020.
On the sidelines of the Conference, Minister of Industry and Commerce Lantosoa Rakotomalala signed the new Country Programme (CP) for Madagascar (2019-2023).
Find out more photos of the LDC Ministerial Conference here.
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Programme Officer, Regional Division Africa