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The fourteenth session of the UNIDO General Conference took place from 28 November to 2 December 2011 in Vienna. The General Conference is the supreme legislative body of UNIDO and comprises all 174 of its Member States. This year, the event carried the overarching theme “The New Industrial Revolution: Making it sustainable”. This theme highlights the fact that inclusive and sustainable industrial development strategies are of critical importance to reconcile the three dimensions of sustainability: environmental, economic and social. This is of particular relevance to developing countries in the present international development context.

The event brought together hundreds of participants including Heads of State and Government, Ministers and other high-level government officials from around the world as well as senior representatives of other United Nations organizations, prominent leaders from the corporate sector, civil society and academia. In particular, it featured Jeremy Rifkin, President of the Foundation on Economic Trends, author of 18 international bestselling books and senior lecturer at the Wharton School’s Executive Education Programme, University of Pennsylvania, who presented his notion of the third industrial revolution.

The General Conference was structured around the following key features:

  • Keynote addresses by invited Heads of State and Government and Ministers
  • Forum – a high-level interactive debate on making the new industrial revolution sustainable
  • Five regional round tables focusing on:

Africa: Economic diversification strategies: a key driver in Africa’s new industrial revolution;
Asia and the Pacific: Prosperity for the billions in Asia and the Pacific: green growth and poverty reduction;
Arab region: Youth participation in the inclusive economic development of the Arab region;
Latin America and the Caribbean: Will the new green industrial revolution reduce income inequalities in Latin America and the Caribbean?
Europe and NIS: Promoting innovative industries and technologies for a sustainable future of the Europe and NIS region.
In addition, a number of side events and exhibits were organized during the course of the Conference.