UNIDO-ITU Collaborate for Country-level Innovation, Infrastructure, Industrialization
Photo by IISD/ENB | Kiara Worth
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The UN Industrial Development Organization and the International Telecommunication Union announced a partnership to “fast forward” SDG achievement, focusing on reducing digital and gender divides, creating jobs, improving efficiency of natural resource management and e-waste management, and supporting growth of small and medium-sized enterprises.

The ITU highlighted the objective of delivering “measurable and sustainable solutions” at country level.

26 April 2017: The UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) announced a partnership to “fast forward” achievement of the SDGs, particularly on industrialization, infrastructure development and innovation. The cooperation will focus on reducing digital and gender divides, creating jobs, improving efficiency of natural resource management and e-waste management, and supporting growth of small and medium-sized enterprises, among other areas.

ITU is the UN’s specialized agency for information and communication technologies. UNIDO is the specialized UN agency promoting industrial development for poverty reduction, inclusive globalization and environmental sustainability.

The two agencies will collaborate on country-level actions plans to attract PPPs and investment.

The partnership aims to strengthen the two agencies’ collaboration at the country level on efforts that support SDG 9 (industry, innovation and infrastructure), including “action plans that are designed to attract public-private partnerships and investment.” ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao highlighted the objective of delivering “measurable and sustainable solutions” at country level. UNIDO Director General Li Yong said the partnership can bring “real benefits to industry,” including SMEs in emerging economies.

UN bodies also held two meetings in Africa, in preparation for a special meeting of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) on ‘Innovations in Infrastructure Development and Promoting Sustainable Industrialization,’ on 31 May 2017. The ECOSOC meeting will aim 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.

In May, Member States will convene for two other events on the role of innovation, science and technology. The Multi-Stakeholder Forum on Science, Technology and Innovation for the Sustainable Development Goals (STI Forum) is a component of the Technology Facilitation Mechanism mandated by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on financing for development (AAAA). Its second annual session will take place from 15-16 May 2017, on the topic of ‘Science, Technology and Innovation for a Changing World – Focus on SDGs 1, 2, 3, 5, 9 and 14’, which are among the SDGs being reviewed during the 2017 session of the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF).

Following the STI Forum, UN General Assembly (UNGA) President Peter Thomson will convene a High-level Event on Innovation and Connectivity, to enable major corporations and UN Member States to discuss how emerging technologies can transform efforts to implement the 2030 Agenda.

Also on SDG 9, the second annual Global Infrastructure Forum, in April 2017, concluded with an Outcome Statement on steps by countries and development banks to scale up infrastructure finance to meet development goals. [ITU Press Release] [UNIDO Press Release on ITU Partnership] [SDG Knowledge Hub Coverage of STI Forum] [SDG Knowledge Hub Coverage of UNGA Event] [SDG Knowledge Hub Story on Africa Meetings] [SDG Knowledge Hub News on SDG 9]


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