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Updated On: Thursday, 16 August 2018
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Strong UNIDO presence at the European Development Days

Content by: UN Industrial Development Organization

BRUSSELS, 6 June 2018 – The Director General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) has taken part in the two-day European Development Days (EDD) organized by the European Commission.

The EDD is Europe’s leading forum on development and every year brings together some 8,000 practitioners from the development community to share ideas and innovative solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges.

This year’s theme, “Women and Girls at the Forefront of Sustainable Development: protect, empower, invest”, resonates with UNIDO's mandate and with the objectives set by the United Nations Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development. In this regard, UNIDO co-organized and participated in one high-level panel, two lab debates and one brainstorming lab. To show UNIDO’s commitment to women economic empowerment, notably through inclusive and sustainable industrial development, Director General, LI Yong, led the UNIDO delegation to the EDD.

The EDD 2018 was the occasion for Li to meet and discuss the role of inclusive and sustainable industrialization with personalities such as Paul Kagame, the President of Rwanda; Marie Louise Coleiro-Preca, President of Malta; H.R.H. Princess Abze Djigma, Founder and CEO AbzeSolar S.A. and Ambassador of Burkina Faso for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency; Ambroise Fayolle, Vice-President of the European Investment Bank; Phil Hogan, European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development; Josefa Sacko, African Union Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture; Kristalina Georgieva, Chief Executive Officer of the World Bank; Patrick Gomes, Secretary General of the ACP Secretariat; Stefano Manservisi, Director General of Devco; and Daniel Calleja, Director General of DG-Environment; Arancha Gonzalez, Executive Director of the International Trade Center; Alexander De Croo, Deputy Prime Minister of Belgium and Minister of Development Cooperation, Digital Agenda, Telecom and Postal Services. He also had a conversation about the industrial future of Senegal with the world music star and special advisor to the president of Senegal, Youssou Ndour.

DG - Daniel Calleja - Christophe Yvetot_prDG - EU Com Hogan - AU Com Sacko_prDG - Fayolle Vice President EIB 2_pr
With Daniel Calleja and Christophe YvetotWith Phil HoganWith Ambroise Fayolle
DG - Pdt. Malta.JPG_prDG - Pdt. Malta_pr
With Paul KagameWith Louise Marie Coleiro-PrecaAll DG meetings can be found here

On the first day of the EDD, Director General Li opened a policymakers’ dinner at the invitation of Friends of Europe, a Brussels think tank, on the theme, “Leaving no one behind – the SDG challenge of reaching the last mile’. As a keynote speaker, Li stressed that, “despite common perception, poverty has been reduced by half in the last decades, thanks to the industrial development of many developing countries. The manufacturing sector contributed to lift more than one billion people out of poverty in only 25 years. Through the right industrial policies and with the support of UNIDO instruments such as the Programme for Country Partnership, countries can accelerate and scale-up their industrial transformation and create thousands of jobs in a relatively short time.”

He added that integrated agro-industrial parks are innovative tools for massive jobs creation particularly for youth and women. A dialogue was then organized with an audience of European Union representatives, policymakers, and representatives of the private sector and civil society.

On the second day, Li was invited by the European Investment Bank and Friends of Europe to a luncheon dialogue on Delivering the SDGs: Partnering for universal access to energy, health care and water”. Kicking off the discussions, the UNIDO Director General emphasized UNIDO’s technical support for enterprises and assistance to government institutions on cleaner production policy, as well as the promotion, adaptation and transfer of environmentally sound technologies and the implementation of advanced business models.

EIB Luncheon Dialogue DG Panelists Overview_PR

Li then participated in a high-level panel on “Leading the change: Empowering women and girls for a thriving rural economy” with the African Union and European Union Commissioners responsible for agriculture. He stressed the need to transform African economies, and especially the importance of increasing manufacturing value added (MVA) by linking agricultural production with sustainable industrialization, which allows fostering job creation and higher incomes, especially for women in rural areas. Li spoke about the Programme for Country Partnerships, which have already proven effective in Ethiopia and Senegal. He said, “In order for people to afford services such as access to health, education, energy and water, they need to have higher incomes, and industrial jobs play a key role in this regard.”

UNIDO also participated in the Lab Debate, “SheMigrant and Sustainable Development” which addressed the role that migrant women and girls play in their host countries, as well as  the importance of women’s empowerment to tackle the root causes of forced migration. Christophe Yvetot, UNIDO Representative to the EU and ACP Secretariat, presented UNIDO’s work in addressing the socio-economic roots of migration in terms of job creation through better skills for women in industrial sectors. He said, “With higher qualifications, women and girls can develop their full potential and contribute to their well-being and that of their families. They can also participate in the development of their home country or to the host country if they migrate.”

Fatin Ali Mohamed, industrial development and environment expert participated in the Lab debate entitled, “Equal(c)ity”, which focused primarily on taking a gender perspective on urban issues such as infrastructure, governance, economy and energy. Ali Mohamed explained how UNIDO’s work on clean energy in the city creates safer conditions for women’s mobility, increases access to public services and contributes to creating income-generating activities. She highlighted that “the focus of UNIDO’s strategy for sustainable cities will be to promote the economic empowerment of women by supporting industries and enterprises to provide access to clean and affordable energy and related services such as water and sanitation, safe public transport, and lighting of streets.”

DG Interview with Young Leader@UN Stand_prDG-UNIDO BRO + Young Leader @ UN STAND_pr
Interview with Grace Kata Banda, Young Leader from Malawi, at SDG studioWith staff of UNIDO's Office in Brussels

UNIDO also organized a Brainstorming Lab on the question “How are social entrepreneurs advancing the SDGs?”. Focusing on SDG 5, 9 and 12, this debate aimed at increasing understanding of the importance of social entrepreneurship for young women and girls to boost economic resilience.

Find out more about the DG's activities during EDD here.

For more information:

Christophe Yvetot

UNIDO Representative to the European Union and Head of UNIDO Brussels Office


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