UNIDO's vision of inclusive and sustainable industrial development

Economically driven sustainable development
Future strategies for poverty reduction need to be economically empowered to achieve sustainable development in all its dimensions. Image: Shutterstock

The global community finds itself at a critical juncture today. While poverty is still the central challenge of our world, we now effectively have the means to eradicate poverty within the next generation.

Poverty is a complex phenomenon with many dimensions that go far beyond low income levels. Finding the right responses in each context thus requires concerted efforts across the spectrum of development cooperation, so as to achieve better livelihoods for the poor. This is what the new sustainable development agenda currently being formulated to succeed the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) has to live up to. It has to present a clear roadmap for eradicating poverty in its full multidimensional context of economic deprivation, social inequality and environmental degradation.

So where do we stand today? Fortunately, there are many good examples to build on and success stories to share. Many countries have reached higher development levels in all dimensions – economic, social and environmental – for the benefit of their people.

There is not a single country in the world that has reached a high stage of economic and social development without having developed an advanced industrial sector

Three decades ago, every second person in the developing world was poor. In 2010, the share of women and men living in absolute poverty had decreased to just over 20 per cent. Analyzing the drivers for this trend demonstrates that it was the countries with steady economic growth, driven by industrialization, international trade and related services that have managed to reduce poverty most effectively.

In fact, there is not a single country in the world that has reached a high stage of economic and social development without having developed an advanced industrial sector.

Yet, steady prosperity has not been achieved throughout the world and there remain remarkable differences between and within regions, countries and societies. Growth in the past occurred too often without providing the opportunity of participation and reward to significant segments of the population, women and youth in particular.

Clearly, future strategies for poverty reduction need to be economically empowered. This is the only way to generate the income needed to enable individuals, households, and governments to pursue their own development priorities and to support their path to self-reliance. This must be the ultimate goal of our efforts to achieve sustainable development in all its dimensions.

In fact, efforts to address the prevailing social and environmental challenges in a sustainable and lasting manner have usually only succeeded when supported by economic growth.

As a response to these challenges, UNIDO is promoting inclusive and sustainable industrial development (ISID) to harness the full potential of industry’s contribution to the achievement of sustainable development, and lasting prosperity for all.

This brochure (see link below) introduces some of the key elements and issues related to this new vision, as enshrined in UNIDO’s landmark Lima Declaration adopted by the Organization’s Member States on 2 December 2013. It will shape the future operations, spirit and direction of UNIDO for many years to come.

Our challenge now, and our historic opportunity, is to recognize the potential of ISID, and to contribute our efforts for the common good in a new long-term development agenda beyond 2015.

LI Yong is Director General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO). Download the publication: Inclusive and Sustainable Industrial Development: Creating Shared Prosperity, Safeguarding the Environment.

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