Together against the crisis: Industry can be key to building back better

Industrial development and industrialization can help the world recover from the COVID-19 pandemic by getting economies and livelihoods quickly back on their feet. But, more than this, industry can be key to building back better, to safeguarding prosperity for the long term.

Representatives of Germany and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) met today and agreed on the importance of industrialization in meeting the immediate needs of those across the world affected by the COVID-19 crisis.

Gerd Müller, Federal Minister of Economic Cooperation and Development of Germany, and LI Yong, UNIDO Director General, signed the Roadmap for our future and present cooperation between Germany and UNIDO. The Roadmap outlines ways in which the two partners will work together to increase productivity, boost trade and promote investment in order to create jobs and rehabilitate small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and value chains.

Müller stated his belief that industrial development will play a decisive role in advancing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) but said that “we must move faster”, adding that multilateral initiatives such as the Roadmap can help accelerate the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. 

Germany and UNIDO’s shared concept is that industrialization can provide socio-economic opportunities for those suffering from the fallout from the pandemic. Looking ahead, the two partners also agreed that industrial approaches can and must be re-imagined and industrial policies re-focused. Inclusive and sustainable industrial development can spur innovation, make the Fourth Industrial Revolution work for the good of all, reduce climate change impacts, and increase the circularity of supply chains, but, most importantly, lays the foundation for the creation of a resilient infrastructure which allows for economic stability and growth.    

In view of their most pressing needs, sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and Northern Africa (MENA) region, least developed countries (LDCs) and the Vulnerable Twenty Group (V20) will be a focus for future cooperation. However, the Roadmap envisages inclusive and sustainable industrial development that will share the benefits of long-term emission reductions and well-being around the globe.

Germany has been a key member of UNIDO since June 1985 and has contributed to the shaping of UNIDO’s policies and resolutions as a platform for dialogue around industrial development. Moreover, Germany is a critical contributor of assessed contributions and an important contributor of voluntary contributions to the organization.

UNIDO has been an important partner for Germany. It is a specialized agency of the United Nations, uniquely placed to support to Member States with the implementation of the SDG 9 since it has industry and innovation in its core mandate.

In November 2019, at UNIDO’s General Conference in Abu Dhabi, UNIDO and its Member States committed to promoting knowledge-based, environmentally responsible, resource- and energy-saving industrial development that involves the private sector, reduces poverty and benefits all segments of the population.