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UNIDO is working with its Member States and partners to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, to recover from its socioeconomic consequences, and to build a better future together.

As we recover from the immediate health emergency and its devastating impact on jobs, livelihoods and trade, the crisis also opens up an opportunity for a much-needed transformation that will speed up progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals and protect us from future crises.

UNIDO and the impact of the pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused the worst human and economic crisis for decades, leading to a decline in manufacturing output, spending, incomes, employment, and overall economic growth, ultimately resulting in the deepest recession since the Second World War. Beyond these short-term dynamics, the pandemic triggered major shifts such as the accelerating pace of digitalization and automation, the fourth industrial revolution, and its impact on labour markets and productivity.

The achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is seriously jeopardized and the effects of the pandemic can be long-lasting and severe, unless the international policy response focuses on a robust and sustainable recovery and on economic, societal and climate resilience.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, economies with a strong, diversified industrial sector were found to be associated with a lower loss in GDP growth and a faster recovery. UNIDO’s work in promoting inclusive and sustainable industrial development is therefore of critical importance for socio-economic recovery and to build a more inclusive, sustainable and resilient future.

Further UNIDO resources developed in 2020:

While continuing its mandated activities that by their nature address the socio-economic challenges created by the pandemic, UNIDO took urgent action from February 2020 onwards to launch specific activities under the UNIDO framework of “Responding to the crisis, building a better future”.

  • • Monitoring, situational analyses and information sharing, including through articles, analyses, and opinion pieces on the impact of COVID-19 and its mitigation
  • • Surveys of manufacturing firms
  • • A global call for innovative ideas and technologies
  • • Launch of the COVID-19 Industrial Recovery Programme (CIRP)
  • • Guidance for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), including on business continuity and recovery
  • • Knowledge-sharing through online conferences, webinars and training
  • • Emergency response assistance, including support to governments in the procurement of critical supplies
  • • Harmonization of quality standards for hand sanitizers, medical face masks, other personal protective equipment (PPE), and lung ventilators
  • • Revitalization of light manufacturing by repurposing for PPE production
  • • Supporting the local production and testing of PPE, medical devices, etc.
  • • Capacity-building for MSMEs, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and entrepreneurs for workplace safety, to contain economic consequences and adapt to the crisis
  • • Medical waste management and disposal of hazardous medical waste
  • • Building back better: supporting an economic recovery towards inclusive, resilient and environmentally sustainable economies