UNIDO Director General opening speech at the Promotional Event: UNIDO as a Global Platform for the Promotion of Women's Economic Empowerment – Initiatives in Europe and Central Asia

UNIDO Director General opening speech at the Promotional Event: UNIDO as a Global Platform for the Promotion of Women's Economic Empowerment – Initiatives in Europe and Central Asia

As prepared for delivery


Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

On behalf of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), I would like to warmly welcome you to the Vienna International Centre. I am glad that we are gathered here today for an event dedicated to women’s economic empowerment. In a month’s time, we will celebrate International Women’s Day 2019 with the theme “Think equal, build smart, innovate for change”. Equal! Smart! Change! – Powerful words that play a role in making sure we achieve our global aims in the 2030 Agenda.

Gender equality is “smart economics” as the empowering of women enhances economic efficiency and is an enabling factor for economic growth, productivity improvement and innovation.

UNIDO in fulfilling its mandate believes that women are key agents of change, who, as economic actors, leaders and consumers, play vital and important roles in a country’s drive towards higher levels of industrialization. We advocate that the empowerment of women has a positive impact on economic and social development, enabling prosperity and social cohesion at the regional, national and international level.

The evidence is clear that empowering women economically is without doubt one of the most promising opportunities to lift millions out of poverty and spur economic growth and structural change, especially in low- and middle-income countries. Its effects span beyond the economic sphere since women are more conscious users of natural resources and thus can have a significant contribution to environmental sustainability. As mothers, they can foster an empowered future generation. Women are also at the heart of peace processes around the world. These interlinkages have been recognized by the international community in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Ladies and gentlemen,

UNIDO activities are aimed at creating an enabling environment for women to play a more active role in the economy. For example, we work with Syrian women living in refugee camps in Turkey, teaching them the necessary skills in the area of apparel production, allowing them to lead better and more independent lives and integrate within their host societies.

UNIDO has also helped to transfer skills and technologies to assist women to enter the formal labour market or to create, grow and develop their own businesses in Armenia, Ethiopia, Iran, Kyrgyzstan, Mali, Myanmar, Niger, Senegal, Serbia, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Zambia, as well as in the countries from the region of Middle East and North Africa and COMESA - the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa.

banner women event

We work to enhance the access of women in Latin America to clean energy, resource-efficient and cleaner production practices and technologies to reduce time burdens and detriments to health and turn them into competitive and green producers. These are just a few examples.

The new era of industrialization, marked by Industry 4.0, digitalization and innovation provides potential opportunities for women’s entrepreneurship and economic empowerment. To achieve a critical mass of results, we need to maintain the spirit of engagement and continue raising awareness of the benefits of empowering women globally. We are particularly pleased that the Government of the Russian Federation is a great supporter of the women’s empowerment agenda.

I would like to welcome our distinguished guests from the Russian Federation, Ms. Galina Karelova, who serves as a Deputy Chairperson of the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation, and Ms. Gulnaz Kadyrova, who is a Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation.

We are very delighted to see your active engagement in UNIDO targeting women’s active participation in economic activities. Also, I would like to warmly welcome our Goodwill Ambassador, Ms. Veronika Peshkova from the Russian Federation, who was appointed last year and is well known for her long-standing experience in mainstreaming women’s agenda.

I take this opportunity to thank His Excellency Ambassador Mikhail Ulyanov, Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the International Organizations in Vienna for being our reliable partner in promoting women’s economic empowerment, as well as other important programmes of UNIDO.

Within the framework of the project “UNIDO as a platform to promote women’s economic empowerment and entrepreneurship”, funded by the Government of the Russian Federation, we have been on an insightful journey through various initiatives organized jointly with our Russian and international partners.

The experience collected and partnerships forged within and beyond the project allow us to shape very ambitious plans for the future. Today we will share with you some interesting insights.

I look forward to the thought-provoking presentations and fruitful discussions in the course of today’s event and wish you all a productive and insightful day!

Thank you.