World News

UNIDO: Kandeh Yumkella gets second term

7 December 2009 at 23:59 | 514 views

Kandeh K. Yumkella of Sierra Leone was today(Monday) reappointed
for a second term as the Director-General of the United Nations Industrial
Development Organization (UNIDO) during the Organization’s General Conference,Thirteenth Session.

The event in Vienna, held from 7 to 11 December, is being attended by Heads of State and Government, including the President of Iceland, the Prime Ministers of Kenya, Lesotho and Tanzania, and other high-ranking officials from around the world. Senior representatives of international organizations are also taking part.

This year’s General Conference has a thematic focus on “green industries” and the opportunities they offer for developing countries in the current economic circumstance.

This will serve to highlight the role of industry in finding solutions to emerging and
global challenges faced by these countries in achieving their developmental objectives
within a framework of environmental sustainability.

Speaking about the future of UNIDO, Yumkella(photo) said he would continue to make sure the
Organization was “a trusted, efficient and effective partner for development”. “We are
now recognized as an agency with a mandate focused on achieving international
development goals, and dedicated to building partnerships within the UN system and
beyond,” he said. “All developed nations have harnessed industry as the main driver of
their prosperity, and it is still the best hope for ending poverty’s reign over the so-called
“Bottom Billion” of humankind.”

According to the Director-General, UNIDO’s three thematic priorities - Poverty
Reduction through Productive Activities, Trade Capacity Building and Energy and
Environment - will remain at the centre of operations. Capacity building, technology
transfer, policy and institutional support, gender, and sustainability will underlie these
priorities. “By mainstreaming these essential elements across all of our activities, UNIDO
can ensure that the aim of growth and competitiveness is reached,” he said.

Yumkella announced the creation of two major cross-organizational initiatives, on
Industrial Upgrading and Enterprise competitiveness, and on Greening Industry.
Addressing recent global development trends, Yumkella said that a positive trend was
emerging in favour of investments into green industry. Some reports suggest that about
15 per cent of global stimulus packages in 2009 are “green” and include investments in
technologies, infrastructure and strategies to combat climate change. The cost of
producing renewable energy is dropping fast. A rapid increase in production of solar
panels and wind turbines has led to a 50 per cent and 20 per cent drop in unit prices
respectively in 2009 alone.

He said that it was not possible to think of a country’s economic growth as a purely
internal process, adding: “Manufacturing has become globally integrated, and is shifting
in the direction of developing countries at an increasing pace. But not all developing
countries and regions are growing together. Commodities now account for less than 8 per
cent of global trade – the rest is in higher value products. A number of developing
countries – many in Asia – have long realized this need to trade up, and are managing the
transition well through sound industrial policy.”

The Director-General also said that adding value must be “one goal for growth in the
coming century. So too must economic diversification, especially for those countries with
an abundance of tradable natural resources. Diversification provides security against
volatility, and extends the benefits of growth to the many instead of the few. Malaysia is
an example of a country that used the boon of natural resources – in its case oil and gas
revenues – first to fuel an agribusiness-led industrialization model, and later to build a
fully diversified economy.”

Yumkella indicated that climate change was a major challenge conditioning developing
prospects and the quality of life. “Climate change can be effectively addressed through a
new, sustainable trajectory of growth in which industry adopts a low-carbon and
resource-efficient means of production. Rather than limiting growth, a Green Industrial
Revolution could and should form the core of our response to climate change, and may be
our best hope of sustainable recovery from the economic crisis. The potential is there for
new, clean, methods of production; industries focusing on mitigation and adaptation
services; and greater use of renewable energy,” he said.
In the last decade, UNIDO has more than doubled its technical cooperation services
despite the fact its regular budget has not grown. “In our Medium-term Programme
Framework 2010-2013, we established an overarching development objective –
“industrial development for poverty reduction, inclusive globalization and environmental
sustainability” – that better defines the role we play in contributing to international
development goals such as the Millennium Development Goals,” added Yumkella.

In the past four years, UNIDO has also strengthened its normative function, helping to
find common global standards that nations can agree to, for example on industrial energy
efficiency, and corporate social responsibility.
Yumkella heads the new high-level Advisory Group that advises the United Nations
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on energy and climate change challenges. He also chairs
the inter-agency coordination mechanism known as UN-Energy.

The General Conference, UNIDO’s highest policymaking organ, brings together representatives of the
Organization’s 173 Member States. It will also approve the programme and budgets and establish the scale
assessments for regular budget expenditures for the forthcoming biennium.