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The Department of External Relations acts as a facilitator of UNIDO’s normative functions through its engagement with donors, Member States and other partners at strategic and policy level. In this sense, it helps to amplify and communicate the Organization’s normative role. It also participates in the UN-wide coordination mechanisms dealing with funding issues, including the UN Development Group working group on joint funding, multi-donor trust funds, and so on.

Through the recently launched Member States Engagement Initiative, the Department is conducting a series of Consultative Sessions that seek to drive policy-making in thematic areas of UNIDO’s comparative advantage. The consultations on the circular economy brought together representatives of UNIDO’s Member States to chart a consistent and agreed approach to the topic. Future Consultative Sessions are foreseen on a wide array of topics, including climate action and the fourth industrial revolution.

Through its advocacy role, the Department is working to get the message out on UNIDO’s key normative activities. Examples include the extensive advocacy campaigns around the Industrial Analytics Platform (IAP) and the targeted promotion and dissemination of many publications and opinion pieces developed by the Policy, Research and Statistics Department.

It will be crucial to continue to improve and expand communications activity to give wider coverage to what is already being done normatively within the Organization, and to explain its importance as part of an overall narrative that joins the dots between theory and practice. That way, the External Relations Department can ensure that target audiences are identified and provided with appropriate materials. It can also develop strategies for agenda-setting, as well as monitoring responses, so that the goals of the Organization are clearly set out for maximum, measurable impact.