Photo by IISD/ENB | Kiara Worth
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Two meetings aimed to develop regionally driven recommendations for accelerating industrialization in Africa and countries in special situations.

The discussions with national and regional actors took place in preparation for the ECOSOC Special Meeting on Innovations in Infrastructure Development and Promoting Sustainable Industrialization, convening on 31 May 2017.

26 April 2017: In preparation for the UN Economic and Social Council’s (ECOSOC) Special Meeting on Innovations in Infrastructure Development and Promoting Sustainable Industrialization, the UN has held two events on the topic. The events highlighted the relevance of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 9 (industry, innovation and infrastructure) in achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

At the preparatory meetings, national and regional actors discussed innovations in infrastructure development and sustainable industrialization. The meetings aimed to develop regionally driven recommendations for accelerating industrialization in Africa and countries in special situations, and generate consensus on norms and standards to strengthen and develop innovative approaches towards building infrastructure networks and promoting industrialization.

The global expert meeting on ‘Agriculture and Agro-industries Development towards Sustainable and Resilient Food Systems’ focused on opportunities to realize the SDGs through agriculture and agro-industrial development. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) and the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) led the meeting, which convened from 24-26 April in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe.

ECOSOC President Frederick Musiiwa Makamure Shava said new partnerships models can help to “unleash the full potential of infrastructure development and sustainable industrialization, including agro-industries, to generate growth and employment while preserving planetary boundaries.” Participants also discussed: challenges for global food systems within the SDG context; innovative approaches to climate-resilient and sustainable food systems; public and private financing for inclusive agriculture and agro-industry development; and the importance of holistic and integrated approaches to climate change and agriculture, particularly for landlocked developing countries (LLDCs) and the least developed countries (LDCs).

The preparatory process highlighted the need to look beyond traditional means of implementation, to more innovative ways of partnering.

A regional preparatory meeting on ‘Infrastructure and Industrialization in developing countries’ took place on 26 March in Dakar, Senegal, on the margins of the African Union (AU)/Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) joint conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development. Discussions addressed the connections between infrastructure development and industrialization, and highlighted the role of regional infrastructure development in contributing to the region’s overall economic growth. Participants also discussed: green infrastructure and industrialization; the role of the private sector, including small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), in job creation and infrastructure and industrialization projects; and organizational capacity building. Following his participation in the regional preparatory meeting, UN General Assembly (UNGA) President Peter Thomson reported that it had elicited a clear message regarding the need to look beyond traditional means of implementation to more innovative ways of partnering.

Shava will convene the ECOSOC special meeting at UN Headquarters in New York, US, on 31 May 2017. The meeting aims to highlight challenges faced by developing countries and countries in special situations and to generate solutions to bridge gaps in infrastructure and industrialization across countries. A range of UN entities are participating in the meeting.

Also on infrastructure, the Global Infrastructure Forum 2017 in April concluded with an Outcome Statement on steps by countries and development banks to scale up infrastructure finance to meet development goals. [UN Press Release] [Regional Meeting Summary] [Regional Meeting Concept Note] [UNGA President Statement at ECOSOC Partnership Forum] [SDG Knowledge Hub Story on Global Infrastructure Forum]


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