UNIDO and Switzerland sign agreement to strengthen strategic partnership in the field of trade and competitiveness

UNIDO and Switzerland sign agreement to strengthen strategic partnership in the field of trade and competitiveness

VIENNA, 27 November 2017 – The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and Switzerland have signed a Letter of Agreement at the opening of UNIDO’s 17th Session of the General Conference to further strengthen their strategic partnership in the field of trade and competitiveness to facilitate inclusive and sustainable development in partner countries.

Doris Leuthard, President of the Swiss Confederation, and LI Yong, the Director General of UNIDO, signed the agreement for a Swiss contribution of CHF 17.35m towards a programme titled, Global Quality and Standards Programme (GQSP), during the opening session of the UNIDO General Conference.

UNIDO and the Swiss Confederation, through its State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), have been successfully cooperating in providing technical assistance for over 15 years, supporting partner countries to increase their international competitiveness through stronger national quality infrastructure system and compliance with international standards, resulting in a very active partnership.  An effective and efficient quality infrastructure system is vital to build productive capacity in line with market needs and requirements, facilitating the integration of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) into global markets and increased prosperity.

After the signing, UNIDO’s Director General, LI Yong, stated that this agreement supports UNIDO’s mandate towards implementing the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda. It will specifically contribute to the enhancement of technical competence and sustainability of national quality infrastructure systems and the promotion of compliance of SMEs with international standards and technical regulations in partner countries.”

President of the Swiss Confederation, Doris Leuthard, hailed the agreement as a means to achieve inclusive and sustainable industrial development. She told the UNIDO General Conference, “We cannot define progress only in economic terms. UNIDO can support efforts towards sustainability and inclusiveness with this joint quality and standards programme.”

The GQSP will consolidate UNIDO-SECO interventions on quality and standards within one tool, adding the benefit of a global component, facilitating synergies and enhancing coherence.

The GQSP will be implemented in selected countries following a sequential approach, the first three being Peru, Ukraine and South Africa.

For more information, please contact:

Bernardo Calzadilla-Sarmiento

Director

UNIDO Department of Trade Investment and Innovation

Email: TII@unido.org