UNIDO 14th General Conference addresses the New Industrial Revolution
VIENNA, November 28, 2011 – The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) have convened Heads of States, prominent government officials, representatives of international organizations as well as high-level officials from the European Union, the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States at the opening of the organization’s 14th general conference.
The biennial event is UNIDO’s highest policymaking organ bringing together all 174 Member States to determine the guiding principles and policies of the organization and approves the budget and work programme of UNIDO and elects members of the Industrial Development Board.
The theme of the 2011 high-level industrial development conference “The new industrial revolution: making it sustainable” – not only underscores that inclusive and sustainable industrial development strategies are of critical importance to reconcile the three dimensions of sustainability: environmental, economic and social but also seeks answers and solutions and sets the scene for a policy agenda towards making the new industrial revolution sustainable in the light of food, fuel and the financial crisis.
In his address to participants, Director General Yumkella spoke passionately about the Green Industry initiative launched by UNIDO which aims to accelerate the green growth of manufacturing and related sectors in an effort to underscore the positive role industries can play in achieving sustainable development. As he called for stronger government policies, public-private partnerships and collaboration among academia, businesses, financial institutions, civil society and technology providers, Yumkella noted that “one thing is clear: green industry is real and it is already here.”
As Co-chair of UN Secretary Generals high-level group on sustainable energy for all, DG Yumkella emphasized that a key element necessary for the successful implementation of the green industry is access to energy. “Energy access matters for poverty reduction and wealth creation. It matters for business opportunities inAfricaand elsewhere” he said. The Vienna Energy Forum, the just concluded Least Developed Countries Ministerial and Africa Industrialization are among many events that have been organized by UNIDO with a focus on building an energy coalition and discussing and finding practical solutions to tackling energy poverty inAfricaand around the world.
Since the UN General Assembly declared 2012 as the International Year of Sustainable Energy for All, placing energy at the centre of the multilateral process, UNIDO, as the specialized United Nations agency tasked with promoting industrial development for poverty reduction, inclusive globalization and environmental sustainability, is play a major role in driving the agenda forward and supporting the meeting of the global goals on energy access, energy efficiency and renewable energy.
Jeremy Rifkin, president of the Foundation on Economic Trends and the best selling author of nineteen books spoke about his new book “The Third Industrial Revolution” – the possibility that a distributed energy revolution is possible because at some point “we all can create our own energy, store it, and then distribute it to each other because the third Industrial Revolution “is an economic game plan. We have the science and technology to do it, but it will mean nothing unless there is a change in will.” The first Industrial Revolution, Rifkin argues, “brought together print and literacy with coal steam and rail. The second combined the telegraph and telephone with the internal combustion engine and oil.”
Video: Kandeh Yumkella and Jeremy Rifkin discuss the Third Industrial Revolution
Austrian Vice-Chancellor and Federal Minister for European and International Affairs, H.E. Michael Spindelegger delivered the opening remarks affirming the government of Austria’s support for the work of UNIDO. His address was followed by special remarks by Heads of State and other dignitaries.
Sudanese-British television and radio journalist, Zeinab Badawi moderated the high-level debate “The New Industrial Revolution: Making It Sustainable” with panelists Jeremy Rifkin, Dov Zerah of the French Development Agency, Irene Giner-Reichl of the Austrian Development Agency, Juan Rafael Elvira Quesada – Minister of Environment and Natural Resources of Mexico, Janez Potocnik – EU Commissioner for the Environment, Ramatoulaye Bah – Minister of Industry Guinea and Maria de los Angeles Antillon Guerrero – Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry of Costa Rica.
Anthony Abdul Karim Kamara, Jnr. on assignment in Vienna
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