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UNIDO Director General calls for action at Stockholm+50

03 June 2022


STOCKHOLM, 3 June 2022 - Gerd Müller, Director General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), participated in Stockholm+50, a crucial international environmental meeting, commemorating the 1972 United Nations Conference on the Human Environment and celebrating 50 years of global environmental action.


Müller gave welcome remarks at a high-level side event, Our responsibility, Our opportunity: Revisiting Economics & Finance to Accelerate Action for People and Planet, organized by the Partnership for Action on Green Economy (PAGE). In his address, Müller said solving the world’s great challenges is “not a question of finance – the money is there. It is a question of political will.” He pointed out that last year global spending on arms and the military rose to two trillions dollars, while worldwide spending on international development cooperation fell to 180 billion dollars. He said this is “unbelievable...unacceptable.”


Müller said UNIDO stands ready to support a global green economic transformation based on investment in agriculture, sustainable energy and climate protection; decarbonization to decouple future growth from emissions; a fair world trade system with fair supply chains; and serious debt relief for the world's poorest countries.


Müller added that he was very pleased with the efforts of the PAGE, a joint collaboration between five United Nations agencies, including UNIDO. He noted that it is creating global-scale impact through global public goods and making South-South and Triangular Cooperation stronger. Other speakers at the event included Virginijus Sinkevičius, European Commissioner for Environment; Cecilia Nicolini, Argentina’s State Secretary of Climate Change; and Carin Jämtin, Director General of Sida, the Swedish International Development Agency.


The Director General also held a meeting with Carlos Manuel Rodriguez, CEO of the Global Environment Facility, the largest multilateral trust fund supporting environmental action in developing countries and the main financing mechanism for multiple United Nations environmental conventions. They discussed expanded cooperation on industry decarbonization, the development of green hydrogen and the use of nature-based solutions. The Director General said the two entities would work “together for integrated approaches and massive investments for climate impact!” and reiterated his motto “Progress by innovation”.


In a meeting with Emil Högberg, State Secretary to Sweden’s Minister for Business, Industry and Innovation, Müller explored potential areas of cooperation together with Swedish enterprises, such as green industry, skills development and vocational training.


On the margins of the Stockholm+50 event, Müller also met with Nikhil Seth, Executive Director of UNITAR to discuss enhanced cooperation between UNIDO and UNITAR in joint skills and training programmes extending to specific sectors and policy areas (such as chemicals, mining, pharmaceuticals) and including a broad array of public sector actors. Furthermore, he spoke with Anders Oskal and Inger Anita Smuk, respectively Secretary General and Chair of the Association of World Reindeer Herders, representing over 20 indigenous reindeer peoples and about 100,000 reindeer herders in nine different national states, about the dramatic impact of climate breakdown on indigenous peoples.