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The COVID-19 crisis highlighted the need for a strong multilateral cooperation to build back better and greener. For a long time, UNIDO and the Government of Italy have nurtured a trusted and reliable partnership. Both are firmly committed to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda and progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals. The cooperation currently focuses on the socioeconomic response to the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, and upgrading of industries in a socially-inclusive and environmentally-sustainable manner, as well as empowerment of youth and women.

UNIDO and Italy also join hands to promote circular economy principles, private-public partnerships, such as with Illycaffè, and the competiveness of SMEs by mobilizing investments and the transfer of technology, notably with the support of the Investment and Technology Promotion Office in Rome.

Over the last years, Italy remained one of the largest governmental donors of UNIDO and is highly engaged in North and sub-Saharan Africa as well as in the Middle East.

Read on for details about some of the projects recently approved for funding by Italy.

ETHIOPIA: Operationalization and sustainability of integrated agro-industrial parks in Ethiopia

The overall goal of the project is to contribute to the development of the agro-industrial sector and to the creation of decent jobs and economic opportunities in rural areas of Ethiopia by supporting the inclusive and sustainable development of four integrated agro-industrial parks (IAIPs).

The project will focus on:

  • Increasing involvement of the private sector in the agro-industry and allied sectors
  • Fostering food quality, safety and traceability compliance by businesses in the agro-industry sector
  • Promoting socially-inclusive and environmentally-sustainable operation of Ethiopian IAIPs

LEBANON, MOROCCO, TUNISIA: Industrial policies for a circular economy

The project provides a dedicated training programme for policymakers from Lebanon, Morocco, and Tunisia on matters related to industrial policy and circular economy. It builds on a previous successful cooperation with Italian academic institutions and is implemented in cooperation with the University of Roma Tre and the University of Ferrara.

The course provides participants with the opportunity to put principles into practice, thereby helping to improve industry’s environmental and socioeconomic performance. It links innovation policies with environmental issues.

AFRICA REGIONAL: Opportunities for Youth in Africa (OYA): Accelerating jobs creation in agriculture and agribusiness

The programme was jointly developed by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and UNIDO. It is a flagship programme, responding to a dedicated call for accelerating efforts in the area of job creation for African youth, especially through agribusiness and entrepreneurship development. The Government of Italy contributes funding to the inception phase of the project.

INTERREGIONAL: SWITCH Med programme (Phase 2)

The programme, which is co-financed by the European Union, Italy and Spain, aims to create new business opportunities and decent employment while establishing circular economy practices and thereby reducing the environmental footprint of existing economic activities in the Southern Mediterranean. It engages national stakeholders, international companies and key expert organizations. Switch Med has become a major element of the environment agenda of the Union for the Mediterranean, and benefits from the combined expertise of UNIDO and UN Environment who are jointly implementing the programme.

IRAQ: Institutional support and skills development for a dam safety programme to enable sustainable management of hydraulic infrastructure 

UNIDO’s dam safety programme is a response to the Ministry of Water Resources’ call for continued capacity development and technology transfer. It addresses the need to consolidate behavioural change for effective dam safety monitoring and maintenance. The programme is designed to deliver on two major outcomes:

  • The Mosul Dam Monitoring Unit is strengthened as a Center of Expertise to effectively and autonomously make informed decisions as regards to the operational management of the dam;
  • The National Dam Safety Unit is established at the Commission of Dams and Reservoirs in Baghdad and works in synergy with the Mosul Dam Monitoring Unit, paving the way for a national dam safety programme.

The provision of basic services such as water and electricity is crucial for the country’s continued progress and for its industrial and agricultural development. Once the dam has been stabilized, it will be possible to increase water storage by 50 per cent, augmenting the country’s freshwater storage capacity by almost 4 per cent. In terms of the long-term impact, the project will contribute to ensuring a safe and reliable water supply in Iraq.

IRAQ: Investment promotion (Phase 2)

The aim of the project, funded by the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation and implemented with ITPO Italy, is to promote existing and potential domestic and foreign investments in Iraq to expand the share of the private sector contribution to the country’s GDP, to create employment opportunities for poverty alleviation and accelerated economic growth. The focus will be on increasing investment flows and elevating the impact of existing foreign direct investment in Iraq through re-investments, skills upgrading and increased local supply chain linkages.

JORDAN: Supporting the textile value chain to create employment and economic opportunities in Jordan

UNIDO has been supporting the Government of Jordan and its textile industry since 2014 in responding to economic challenges through job creation and resilience strengthening, particularly for women and youth. The Organization has the necessary experience and technical knowledge to provide target beneficiaries and other stakeholders with the appropriate technical support, skills training, innovation and support.

Building on the achievements of the EU- and Italy-funded and UNIDO-implemented Creative Mediterranean project, the intervention aims to strengthen the role of the new Garment Design and Training Service Centre in Irbid, create linkages in the textile industry and support the production and promotion of the fashion collection JO!, one of Creative Jordan’s success stories.

Through the proposed intervention, at least 20 textile manufacturing enterprises in Amman and the Northern Governorates of Jordan will be upgraded in order to access new markets. Additionally, 20 local designers will be supported in the development of new collections and building partnerships with textile manufacturers. Moreover, approximately 200 individuals in the Northern Governorates of Jordan will be trained on the skills needed by textile manufacturers and will be involved in the development of new collections.

SUDAN: Resilience of agropastoral populations in eastern Sudan

The project builds on the results of a previous intervention titled “Fostering inclusive economic growth in Kassala State through agro-value chain development and access to financial services” financed by the Government of Italy and implemented from 2018 to 2020. It seeks to improve access to finance and to renewable energy agro-products for agricultural producers as a key tool across all its main components, with some focus on youth and women.

In terms of specific areas of intervention, the project will develop the following key components:

  • Participation of communities in value chain integration and entrepreneurship development;
  • Enhancement of producers’ associations technical and financial capacity;
  • Enhancement of access to sustainable and modern energy sources for income generating activities.

Considering the duration of the project of 36 months, it is expected that 3,000 households (or approximately 15,000 people across 15 communities and villages) will directly benefit from the project activities.

More information about these and other projects may be found here.