Milestone UNIDO General Conference drawing to close after adopting historic Abu Dhabi Declaration

ABU DHABI, 7th November 2019 (WAM) The 18th Session of the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation, UNIDO, General Conference in Abu Dhabi has drawn to a close after five days of progress, developments and renewed determination towards achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Held at the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates from 3rd to 7th November 2019, the 18th edition of the biennial event united UNIDO’s Member States, under the theme of ‘Industry 2030 � Innovate. Connect. Transform our Future’.

UAE’s historic hosting marked only the fourth time the UNIDO General Conference has been held outside its headquarters in Vienna, Austria, and its first staging in the Middle East and North Africa region.

Speaking at the opening ceremony Andry Rajoelina, President of the Republic of Madagascar described the UAE as a symbol of transformation, modernisation and “one of the world’s great destinations”.

President Rajoelina also praised the UAE’s success in maximising industrial and economic opportunities, citing the country as a “monument to modernism”.

He added that the UAE serves as a great example to the rest of the world by showing that “with vision, work, and determination, everything is possible.”

The General Conference welcomed 1700 attendees including country Presidents, Ministers of Industry, Trade, and Economy, 580 diplomats and leading officials from around the world, senior representatives of UNIDO and other United Nations organisations, and prominent private sector, civil society and academia leaders. Suhail Mohamed Al Mazrouei, UAE Minister of Energy & Industry was announced President of the General Conference in the presence of Andry Rajoelina, President of Madagascar, Mahamadou Issoufou, President of the Republic of Niger, and Jotham Napat Nauka, Deputy Prime Minister of Vanuatu.

Speaking at the closing ceremony, LI Yong, Director General of UNIDO said: “As we enter the last decade to achieve the 2030 Agenda, inclusive and sustainable industrial development needs a strong UNIDO delivering on its functions in a reinvigorated multilateral system. Increased international cooperation and involvement of the private sector are crucial. The call for action is real. Member States, the United Nations and its specialised agencies, and all partners need to speed up implementation and improve coordination. I am also very pleased that with the Abu Declaration you are giving us a very clear direction, drawing attention to the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the need to harness its potential while minimising its risks.”

The 18th Session of the UNIDO General Conference adopted the Abu Dhabi Declaration, which calls on the private sector to form a coalition towards advancing inclusive and sustainable industrial development and achieve global prosperity.

Named after the capital of the United Arab Emirates, the Abu Dhabi Declaration builds on the country’s history of leveraging public-private partnerships to develop its national economy and also exemplifies the country’s firm belief in global alliances to meet ambitious multi-region development goals.

The Abu Dhabi Declaration will thus set a roadmap to create a global alliance of private sector companies that will work towards a common vision of making industrialisation more inclusive and sustainable.

The Abu Dhabi Declaration is also inspired by global industrial partnerships such as the Global Manufacturing and Industrialisation Summit, GMIS, a joint UNIDO-UAE initiative that has established over 100 partnerships with the private sector and has driven cutting-edge technological initiatives.

The UNIDO General Conference held several closed-door committee meetings that set out the Organisation’s budgets and other particulars associated with delivering 2030 Agenda and the fulfilment of the Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs. Talks focused heavily on SDG Goal 9: “to build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialiastion and foster innovation to do with sustainable development and manufacturing”. The deliberations of Member States showed a renewed spirit for multilateralism and strong international cooperation.

The conference hosted the 7th Inclusive and Sustainable Industrial Development, ISID, Forum.

Held under the theme ‘Partnerships for Industry 2030’, ISID is a central pillar of UNIDO’s approach to industrialisation.

The UNIDO General Conference also featured a number of high-level side-events and a joint UAE-UNIDO Exhibition which was attended by 450 visitors. It focused on themes including: Youth and Entrepreneurship, Gender, Industry 4.0, Sustainable Energy, Industrial Parks, and the Circular Economy.

At a side-event entitled ‘Achieving UN SDGs through Entrepreneurship and Innovation: A Regional Perspective for African and Arab Countries’, Rashid Abdulkareem Al Baloushi, Abu Dhabi’s Acting Undersecretary of the Department of Economic Development emphasised the role of Abu Dhabi’s manufacturing sector in the Emirate’s economic development.

The UAE’s rapid industrialisation has seen manufacturing achieve six per cent real-term growth in 2018 – raising its GDP contribution to over 12 percent – with the country climbing 13 places on the UNIDO Industrial Competitiveness Index since 2010.

The Strategy for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (2020-2023), an ambitious and far-reaching gender equality policy, was also launched at the UNIDO General Conference. The Strategy promotes UNIDO’s vision that women and men equally lead, participate in, and benefit from ISID.

Speaking at the Strategy launch, Ismail Abdulla, CEO of UAE-based Strata Manufacturing noted that sustainable talent acquisition is colour blind, gender-neutral and based on merit, and underlined the fact gender equality is also good business strategy, citing that the fact that more than half of Strata’s total workforce and 21 of 34 production team leaders are female.

Clean technology also fell into focus at the ‘Cleantech as a Catalyst for Climate Action and the Clean Energy Transition’ special side-event. Delivering his keynote address, Dolf Gielen, Director Innovation & Technology at International Renewable Energy Agency, IRENA IITC, called for a transition to renewable energy and a decarbonisation of power and heat supplies. Dolf Gielen called for renewables to increase six-fold to meet demand and outlined the three key components that can collectively deliver 90 percent in CO2 reduction required in coming decades: renewable power generation, electrification, and energy efficiency.

Furthermore, The Mohammed bin Rashid Initiative for Global Prosperity, the Global Prosperity Initiative, an initiative of the Global Manufacturing and Industrialisation Summit, GMIS, launched Cohort 2 of the Global Maker Challenge at the 8th Ministerial Conference of the Least Developed Countries that took place on 2nd November, 2019, prior to the UNIDO General Conference.

Under the themes, Sustainable & Healthy Food for All, Innovation for Inclusive Trade, Innovation for Peace and Justice, and Climate Change, start-ups and makers will battle it out to win up to US$1 million in prize money and mentorship in the much-coveted Global Maker Challenge.

Badr Al Olama, Head of the Organising Committee for the Global Manufacturing and Industrialisation Summit, GMIS, said: “By chartering a path towards inclusive and sustainable industrial development around the world, we can create an ecosystem that thrives on technology, creativity and community. The Mohammed bin Rashid Initiative for Global Prosperity reflects the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai to maximise and sustain the positive impact of innovation that empowers communities, improves wellbeing and drives progress globally.

“The first Cohort of the initiative was a tremendous success, unveiling a wealth of truly inspiring innovations from all around the world, setting the bar incredibly high. I am therefore very excited to see how the second Cohort approaches our new set of challenges that tackle key issues such as climate change, sustainable food, inclusive trade, peace and justice. We hope to see their energy and creativity bring new opportunities to those in communities that need it most.”

Source: Emirates News Agency