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UN calls for a new generation of sustainable industrial policies

13 April 2023

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NEW YORK - A new United Nations report says a sustainable industrial transformation is needed to close the widening development gap between countries, meet climate targets and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

In his foreword to the 2023 Financing for Sustainable Development Report, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said, “Without the means to invest in sustainable development and transform their energy and food systems, developing countries are falling even further behind. A two-track world of haves and have-nots holds clear and obvious dangers for every country. We urgently need to rebuild global cooperation and find the solutions to our current crises in multilateral action.”

The report warns of a lasting sustainable development divide and calls on the international community to align financing with sustainable development by combining three sets of actions. First, scale up development cooperation and SDG investment. Second, strengthen the international financial architecture. Third, accelerate national sustainable industrial transformations.

The report warns that, at the current pace of progress, the world will not achieve SDG9 (industry, innovation, infrastructure). Accordingly, it emphasizes that countries need to strengthen strategic approaches, including through a new generation of sustainable industrial policies and integrated financing frameworks.

“Industrialization and structural transformation have been historic engines of growth, job creation and technological advancement,” notes the report. In this context, it goes on to state that the current revival of industrial policies opens a “window of opportunity for countries to pursue sustainable industrial transformations: to build the domestic productive capabilities to achieve low-carbon transitions and create decent jobs and gender equality, along with productivity and economic growth”.

The 2023 Financing for Sustainable Development Report will be discussed at the UN ECOSOC Forum on Financing for Development (17–20 April 2023). The eighth edition since the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the 2015 Addis Ababa Action Agenda was prepared by the United Nations Inter-agency Task Force on Financing for Development. It draws on analysis and data from over 60 United Nations entities, including the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).

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