United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) Director General Li Yong in an article exclusively written for the Iranian media on the occasion of 50th Anniversary of UNIDO (1966-2016) said UNIDO is going to assist the Government of Islamic Republic of Iran in assessing the impact of energy and environmental policies on industrial development, job creation and the environment, and establishing the basis for behavioural change and resource mobilization required to deliver sizeable impacts, thereby achieving inclusive and sustainable industrial development.
The full text of the article reads:
The Islamic Republic of Iran was a founding member of the United Nations back in 1945, and since then has played a significant role in the development of the organization. Today Iran actively participates in the work of the UN, its specialized agencies, programmes and funds. Iran joined United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) in 1985 and the UNIDO Country Office opened in Tehran in 1999.
The UNIDO office in Iran works in partnership with the Government to respond to national development priorities through tailor-made programmes, developed together with various government and non-government organizations, as well as private sector counterparts. Some of these programmes are partly funded by the Government, others by the private sector and multilateral funds.
As agreed with the Government of Iran, the aim of UNIDO’s work is to support Iran’s efforts to reduce social imbalance by creating employment opportunities, adding value to non-oil related products, promoting sustainable development through the development of non-oil industries, and mitigating the environmental impact of industrial activities. UNIDO’s core work covers four strategic areas, namely: strengthening small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs); improving business environment; modernizing agro/rural-based industries; and improving resource efficiency and addressing environmental and climate change-related issues.
Since 1963, UNIDO has implemented projects in Iran with a total value of USD78 million, and the present portfolio is about USD23 million. The nature of UNIDO’s projects in Iran has followed the evolving international industrial scenario. It shifted from assisting with the heavy industry sectors including pulp and paper, iron and steel, and fertilizer industries in the 1970’s and 1980s, to the tertiary sector that developed in the 1990s and 2000s.
From the 1990s, UNIDO has been assisting Iran in the implementation of international environmental agreements, such as the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, and the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants. Today, UNIDO is extending its assistance to the implementation of the Minamata Convention on mercury, and to comply with the greenhouses gas emissions targets agreed at the COP21 conference on climate change in Paris in December 2015.
With regard to Montreal Protocol, with the assistance of UNIDO, the Government of Iran was one of the first to meet the 2015 HCFCs phase-out target. HCFCs are ozone-depleting substances which are utilized in everyday life, including in refrigerators and air conditioning devices. In this regard, in an effort to integrate ozone-layer protection with industrial development, UNIDO introduced hydrocarbon technology in Iran’s polyurethane foam production. This technology protects the ozone layer and reduces the negative impact of polyurethane foam manufacturing on climate change. In addition, the project has created a number of jobs because the equipment used is entirely manufactured in Iran.
UNIDO is now at the forefront of assisting Iran with coping with new challenges in the context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. UNIDO will work together with the Government of Iran to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in particular two of them: Goal 9 - Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation; and Goal 13 - Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.
The tasks ahead are paramount, both for the international community and the Iranian people. Therefore, the Government of Iran needs UNIDO’s assistance more than ever to achieve inclusive and sustainable industrial development. Complex challenges, such as creating jobs, ensuring environmental sustainability, gaining market access, diversifying the economy away from reliance on the oil sector, fostering resource efficiency, and providing government subsidies, have to be integrated into a renewed industrial and social strategy with policies that carefully balance costs and benefits.
In terms of strategy, when implementing UNIDO’s projects in Iran, particularly in the area of energy and environment, it is clear that technology is not the main barrier, rather, the lack of awareness and financing are impeding sustainable development in Iran.
In terms of awareness, there is the need for a change in the production and consumption patterns. UNIDO’s Energy Management System project has demonstrated that the Energy Management System alone can deliver an annual 8 per cent of reduction in energy consumption in key industries, at nearly zero cost.
In terms of financing, when addressing global environmental issues such as climate change, the size of the task is so big and complex that no single government or international fund can combat the problem alone.
In the upcoming years, UNIDO is going to assist the Government of Iran in assessing the impact of energy and environmental policies on industrial development, job creation and the environment, and establishing the basis for behavioural change and resource mobilization required to deliver sizeable impacts, thereby achieving inclusive and sustainable industrial development.
In 1966 the United Nations created the United Nation Industrial development organization-UNIDO- to in the words of the resolution play the central role in and be responsible for reviewing and promoting the coordination of all activities at the United Nation system in the field of industrial development.
The 50th anniversary of UNIDO provides an opportunity to not only reflect on the past but to chart a new part for a sustainable future: “over the last 50 years UNIDO has created opportunities for and improve the lives of millions of men and women around the globe including young people”. Since its early years UNIDO has been the United Nation’s entity supporting structural transformation initially focused on technology transfer initiatives that increased agricultural production and on economic self-sufficiency through industrialization. The organization helps start industries in many countries and supported new industries in other countries that already begun to industrialize as the global context changed so too did UNIDO. In the 1980’s UNIDO focused more on promoting investments and the export-led growth and at the same time there was a greater focus on south-south cooperation and the environment. In the 1990’s UNIDO developed stronger cooperation with the private sector and diversified its funding sources. Importantly UNIDO became an agency for the multi-lateral fund for the implementation of the Montreal protocol and the global environment facility carrying out programmes covering industry, the environment and sustainable energy .Bilateral donors started to play an increasingly important role. During the many changes our world has undergone over the last 50 years, UNIDO has continued to be effective, innovative and relevant.” Over the past half a century UNIDO has worked to reduce poverty, create jobs, and promote greener industries and helps countries benefit from international trade and technological progress. I salute your efforts to create shared prosperity, advance economic competitiveness while safe guarding the environment and empower women and youth. All of this is crucial to implementing the 2030 agenda for sustainable development.”
The organization is actively contributing to tackling some of the most outstanding challenges of our time such the threat posed by climate change, mass youth unemployment and the deepening inequality.
“UNIDO’s mandate is to promote and accelerate the inclusive and sustainable industrial development makes it a natural partner for UN women so that we leave no one behind”.
Through its programme for country partnership piloted in Ethiopia and Senegal, UNIDO has put forward a concrete model to operationalize and advance the sustainable development goals particularly SDG9 on building resilient infrastructure, promoting inclusive and sustainable industrialization and fostering innovation.” Ethiopia indeed stands to gain from UNIDO sound technical cooperation, experience and expertise in the implementation of industrial Development programmes and projects.”
“I would like to convey our gratitude to UNIDO for having selected Senegal as one of the pilot countries for implementation of UNIDO’s new approach towards inclusive and sustainable industrial development namely ISID. Thank you UNIDO for its kindness assisting Senegal”.
Donors, beneficiaries, partners and friends from both the past and the present are celebrating UNIDO’s 50th anniversary and looking forward to taking advantage of new and innovative ways to work together towards the achievement of the 2030 development agenda and sustainable development goals.
“Today as never before UNIDO is fully committed to the job that started 5 decades ago and put an end to the poverty once and for all. I am confident that together with the continuous support of our member states, partners and our donors we will realize our dream of a sustainable future.”