Kandeh K. Yumkella, director- general, United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (Unido), believes that industrialisation and sustainable development can go hand-in-hand. He spoke to Hindustan Times on a range of issues. Excerpts:
On the impact of the financial crisis on manufacturing
Industry-led growth has been the engine of the global economy for over two centuries. I believe it to be still the best hope for lifting out of poverty the “Bottom Billion” of mankind. The recent financial crisis have sharpened the economic and social vulnerability of people worldwide, in particular in the poorer countries.
On the role of UN agencies in improving competitiveness in developing countries
We are the only worldwide organisation dealing exclusively with the industry from a development perspective. We have a unique mandate in the UN system to support sustainable industrialisation. By virtue of this mandate, it has, since 1967, been an authoritative voice in the UN system on issues of technology transfer; development of small and medium enterprises, especially through the cluster approach; promotion of technology and investment; and environmental management in industry, including cleaner production and implementation of multilateral environment agreements like the Montreal and Kyoto Protocols.
On greening of industry
The industrial sector has to play a central role in global efforts for mitigating climate change, because industry accounts for 41 per cent of global energy use and 43 per cent of carbon dioxide emissions. Industry also accounts for 65 per cent of the global growth of greenhouse gas emissions. Hence, we advocate the need for large-scale technical assistance and transfer of cleaner production know-how.
On Unido’s green industry plans
Green industry envisages addressing environmental challenges through a new and sustainable trajectory of growth, in which industry adopts a low-carbon and resource efficient means of production. This means clean methods of production; industries focusing on mitigation and adaptation of services; and greater use of renewable energy. Member countries have endorsed at the general conference a plan of action involving continuation of assistance in the fields of renewable energy for productive uses, industrial energy efficiency, green industries and sustainable low-carbon emissions industries.
On world trade deals & market access for developing countries
The reality is that developing countries can avail themselves of market access opportunities arising out of WTO talks only if they are able to compete effectively in world markets.
It is not market access alone that matters. What matters is enhanced capacity to produce according to international standards products that can be sold at competitive prices.
That is why my friend Pascal Lamy (WTO director-general) said at a conference. “WTO and UNIDO are two sides of the same coin”. Their roles are complementary in the area of trade capacity-building.