Ahead of the Fifth United Nations Conference on Least Developed Countries (LDCs), an Asia-Pacific Regional Review Meeting has discussed the implementation of the Istanbul Programme of Action for LDCs (IPoA). The Meeting was jointly hosted by the United Nations Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries (UN-OHRLLS), the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), and the Government of Bangladesh.
The four-day meeting was attended by high-level participants, including Ministers of Foreign Affairs, members of parliament, development partners, United Nations institutions, international financial institutions and regional development banks, amongst others.
During the meeting, representatives of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) committed to upholding its support to least developed countries (LDCs) in the Asia-Pacific region as they undergo structural economic transformations for sustainable graduation.
The Deputy to the Director General of UNIDO, Hiroshi Kuniyoshi, emphasized the advancement of the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly SDG9 on inclusive and sustainable industrialization in the region along with UNIDO’s key partners. He underlined the significance of the LDCs’ participation in policy formulation which is a complex task that “requires foresight, industrial intelligence, industry participation, and engagement of diverse government institutions.”
He said LDCs should focus on building productive capacities by gathering adequate financial, technical and institutional resources through joint partnerships, and highlighted the joint effort put in by UNIDO together with FAO, ILO, UNCTAD and UNDP through the Inter-Agency Cluster on Trade and Productive Capacity initiative for a rapid response to deal with the COVID-19 challenges.
While highlighting the potential of advanced digital technologies, Kuniyoshi took into consideration the pressing issues faced globally due to climate change. He stressed environmentally friendly industrial policies, saying, “For instance, the use of renewable energies can and should be used to facilitate transformative change in LDCs to prepare the manufacturing sector, including health industries, agribusiness, and agro-industries for tomorrow.”
In the same vein, in his speech during the high-level opening event, the Managing Director of UNIDO’s Directorate of Programmes, Partnership and Field Coordination, ZOU Ciyong, stated the importance of multi-stakeholder approaches in technical cooperation and policy advice, for instance, UNIDO’s flagship initiative, the Programme for Country Partnership (PCP) in Cambodia.
In addition to synergizing with regional and global frameworks to facilitate technology transfer, Zou suggested that “LDCs can reach the full potential of the public and private business sectors if the right policy frameworks are in place, including industrial development policies, entrepreneurship strategies and plans of action for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).”
Kuniyoshi and Zou both embraced the Organization’s plan to mainstream the forthcoming Doha Programme of Action (DPoA) within the next UNIDO Strategy for LDCs 2022-2031.