VIENNA, 27 November – A high-level panel discussion of the role of political leadership for the advancement of the 2030 Agenda brought together the President of the Republic of Malta, Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca; the Director General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), LI Yong, and the Permanent Representative of the Republic of Belarus to the United Nations and President of the UNIDO General Conference, Alena Kupchyna.
The discussion, held as part of the UNIDO General Conference, was moderated by the international broadcaster, Zeinab Badawi, and focused on the need to enhance industrialization as one of the cornerstones of development and social well-being in economies, and for people and societies as a whole.
The speakers also expounded on the role of innovation and education, training and learning as the foundations for any economic and social advancement of countries in the twenty-first century, and the need to focus on policies to reduce economic and social inequalities within and among countries as the foundation for peace and stability.
Coleiro Preca, the youngest president Malta has ever had, has dedicated her life to the social well-being of the most vulnerable in society. During the discussion, she called for greater representation of women at all levels of society, from community leadership to international politics. “We need to be in numbers in leadership,” she said. “Women’s leadership is essential not only at the international level but also at community level.” She called on UNIDO to act as a coordinator for various international initiatives to minimize fragmentation and maximize the outcomes required to meet the 2030 Agenda.
Multilateralism was a key theme of the discussion, with all participants agreed that in order to bring about the transformation required, the political will must be there to make it happen. As 50% of the global population and 50% of the world’s talent, women were recognized as being key to achieving inclusive and sustainable development. “You cannot achieve inclusive and sustainable industrial development without women,” affirmed Kupchyna.
The pivotal role of the United Nations, and UNIDO in particular, in supporting Member States in pursuit of policies and strategies for inclusive and sustainable development was also discussed.
Reflecting on the “profound responsibility” of his re-election as Director General, LI referred back to his early school days, where he learnt that “women hold up half of the sky”. He said that women’s empowerment will, therefore, remain high on the agenda for UNIDO, as the Organization continues on its mission to ensure that “no one is left behind.”
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