UNIDO’s 18th General Conference opens in Abu Dhabi

UNIDO’s 18th General Conference opens in Abu Dhabi

ABU DHABI, 3 November 2019 – The 18th session of the General Conference of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) opened today in Abu Dhabi under the theme “Industry 2030 – Innovate. Connect. Transform our Future.” Gathering high-level representatives from Member States, the General Conference, which is co-hosted with the United Arab Emirates, will look into the key role of inclusive and sustainable industrial development (ISID) to achieve the Agenda 2030, in particular in the context of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

“The theme of the General Conference, Industry 2030, points towards the world we want by the year 2030, with industries that are inclusive and sustainable, driving a low-carbon, climate-smart economy that provides decent jobs, inclusive growth, shared prosperity and that empowers all people in all countries,” said UNIDO Director General LI Yong in his opening statement.

“The challenges confronting our world require confidence and strong determination. Many of the required solutions lie in stronger cooperation – stronger cooperation between governments, and an even stronger cooperation with the private sector,” Director General Li added, while also referring to the successes of the Organization’s Programme for Country Partnership (PCP).

The UAE Minister of Energy and Industry, Suhail Mohamed Faraj Al Mazrouei, noted that “to be awarded the honour of hosting the 18th session of the UNIDO General Conference Abu Dhabi is a testament to the UAE’s efforts to advance the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and to support the spread of innovation and inclusive sustainable development on a global level. As Member States of UNIDO, we need to spearhead efforts to develop an advanced industrial sector based on knowledge and innovation. This will be most visibly recognized in the progress countries make on Goal 9.”

The five-day event will showcase successful partnerships and technical cooperation achievements with a focus on today’s most relevant topics for Member States, including gender, circular economy, youth and entrepreneurship, industry 4.0, industrial parks, and sustainable energy, as well as partnerships.

“To achieve industrialization, the leadership of the state and the ownership of the government to industrial development are crucial, in particular related to the realization of infrastructures and to the necessity of creating a good business environment. To drive this policy of industrialization, Least Developed Countries (LDCs), particularly those in Africa, need the support of organizations like UNIDO,” said the President of Niger, Mahamadou Issoufou, who also called for the organization of a summit for the industrialization of Africa.

In support of this, Andry Rajoelina, President of Madagascar, added: “I hereby invite all public and private leaders and the social actors to contribute to this big movement for the transformation of our economies and the well-being and fulfillment of our people. Let’s work more and let’s work better to eliminate poverty in our countries and reduce inequalities.”

In a video statement, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres said: “UNIDO plays a unique role in advancing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. I commend your focus on harnessing the potential of new technologies. Through your partnerships with governments and the private sector, you can help drive job creation, technology transfer and investments. Your work also helps to tackle the climate crisis by facilitating the transition to circular economies, low-carbon growth, the greening of infrastructure and reduction of industrial emissions.”

Following the opening ceremony, the Director General kicked off the joint UNIDO-UAE exhibition – put together with support from the Arab Bank of Economic Development in Africa (BADEA) – which offers an immersive experience through innovative interactive hubs focusing on the key topics identified for the Conference. Several launches and presentations also took place, including of the photo exhibition prepared by UNIDO’s most recently appointed Goodwill Ambassador, Elisabetta Illy.

The first day of the General Conference also featured the Seventh ISID Forum, which emphasized the key role of innovative partnerships, such as the PCP, to support the achievement of ISID and the Agenda 2030, in particular in Africa. An exchange of letters between UNIDO and the Government of Côte d'Ivoire – one of UNIDO’s most recent PCP countries – and the signing of a Joint Declaration with Huawei and of a project document on a sustainable industrial zone as part of the PCP for Peru, also took place during the day. (Read the press release here)

The event brings together key development stakeholders, including government representatives, senior representatives from UN organizations and prominent leaders from the private sector, civil society and academia, in order to help foster partnerships that can accelerate ISID for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

The General Conference is the Organization’s supreme policymaking organ where all Member States meet to determine guiding principles and policies as well as to approve the budget and work programme. Following sessions in Thailand in 1987, Cameroon in 1993, and Peru in 2013, this is the fourth time that the UNIDO General Conference takes place away from the Organization’s headquarters in Vienna, Austria since becoming specialized agency. 

Find out more about the event here.

Take a tour of the General Conference’s virtual exhibition here.

For more information, please contact:

Sayaphol Sackda

Officer in Charge

UNIDO Advocacy and Media Relations Division