Abu Dhabi has officially been selected to host the 2019 United Nations Industrial Development Organization (Unido) General Conference (GC), the organisation’s supreme policy-making organ which convenes every two years.
The announcement was made following a vote by the 53 member states of the Industrial Development Board (IDB) at their 46th annual meeting in Vienna, Austria, where they convened to review the implementation of the Unido work programme, approve budgets, and make recommendations to the General Conference on policy matters, said a statement.
The consensus is a testament to the growing confidence in the UAE’s role in shaping the future of manufacturing, and its development of a robust industrial base as part of a national vision for a diversified, knowledge-based, highly productive and competitive economy.
Since becoming a specialised agency in 1985, Unido has never hosted the General Conference in the Middle East, and only hosted it away from its Vienna headquarters three times: in Bangkok, Thailand (1987), Yaoundé, Cameroon (1993), and Lima, Peru (2013).
Unido and the UAE have a long-standing relationship, with both serving as co-chairs for the Global Manufacturing and Industrialisation Summit (GMIS), the world’s first cross-industry platform that gathers leaders from public and private sectors and civil society to harness the Fourth Industrial Revolution’s (4IR) transformation of manufacturing to the regeneration of the global economy.
The platform has seen Abu Dhabi emerge as a leader in driving this transformation, and hosting the UNIDO GC will build on its continuous efforts and initiatives, which seek to shape the future of manufacturing while promoting industrialisation for poverty reduction, inclusive global development, and environmental sustainability.
The General Conference is scheduled to be held at the end of 2019 and will be preceded by Unido’s Least Developed Countries (LDCs) Ministerial Conference.
As the world’s largest donor of official development aid relative to national income, a leader in smart strategies, and a strategically positioned geographic location between East and West, the UAE has continuously demonstrated its commitment to contributing to the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs).
Home to the ministerial Fourth Industrial Revolution Council, a first of its kind in the world, and co-chair to the Global Manufacturing and Industrialisation Summit, hosting the Unido GC in Abu Dhabi will allow countries to benefit from a global pool of capabilities and enhance their understanding of, and preparation for, the impact of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
According to data from Oxford Economics, from 2007 to 2017, the UAE’s industrial sector (which includes extraction, manufacturing, utilities and construction) has grown by more than a third, and is forecast to grow by another third over the next decade.
An integral part of the global supply chain, companies in the UAE such as Strata Manufacturing, the region’s only aircraft parts manufacturer, Emirates Global Aluminium, which was the world's largest 'premium aluminium' producer in 2017, and defence vehicle manufacturer NIMR Automotive, have proven their capabilities and evolved into global players in knowledge-based and cutting-edge sectors.
Following the announcement, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation, affirmed the UAE's commitment to enabling inclusive and sustainable industrial development as a catalyst for economic and social prosperity, and commented on the occasion: “Selecting Abu Dhabi to host the conference reflects the international recognition of the UAE’s significant role in supporting the global industrial sector to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations.”
“The UAE remains a pioneer in the Fourth Industrial Revolution and continues to bridge and connect civilisations between the East and West. Through its partnership with Unido in the Global Manufacturing and Industrialisation Summit, the UAE is well-positioned to play a strategic role in shaping the future of the global manufacturing sector,” he added.
Unido director general LI Yong said: “We highly appreciate the generous offer of the Government of the UAE to host the eighteenth session of the UNIDO General Conference in Abu Dhabi.”
“I look forward to further strengthening our ties, especially since UNIDO and the United Arab Emirates share the commitment to take a transformational approach towards shaping the future of manufacturing and jointly co-chair the Global Manufacturing and Industrialisation Summit,” Yong added.
Engineer Suhail Mohamed Faraj Al Mazrouei, UAE Minister of Energy and Industry, said: “The UAE has flourished in a relatively short period of time since its establishment, but many challenges had to be overcome to achieve this.”
“Our founding father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan had the vision to leverage oil wealth to build a prosperous nation and enhance the welfare of UAE citizens, developing what are now world-class healthcare and education systems, and a globally competitive economy. This vision, however, was not exclusive to the people of the UAE; in the midst of the country’s renaissance, it arose as a leader in international cooperation and in the provision of humanitarian relief and development support to those less fortunate across the world,” he said.
Al Mazrouei continued: “Clearly, spreading global prosperity is deeply instilled into our belief system, and unlocking the potential of the manufacturing sector will support our efforts; it has always been a key contributor to social and economic welfare, and is instrumental to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. However, the 2030 Agenda is being carried out at a time when the lines are blurred between the physical, digital, and biological spheres.”
“The developments that the Fourth Industrial Revolution brings must be exploited to ensure prosperity is shared across all societies, particularly in developing countries. This is something we have been focused on delivering through the Global Manufacturing and Industrialisation Summit with Unido as our co-chair, and we have no doubt that our efforts will be amplified by hosting the Unido General Conference in the UAE,” he added. – TradeArabia News Service