GENEVA, 13 April 2018 – The importance of public-private partnerships for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development has been highlighted today at the World Association For Sustainable Development’s (WASD) 16th International Annual Conference organized together with the Joint Inspection Unit of the United Nations System. During the conference, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) presented its strategic and operational approach for partnering with the business sector and explained how it contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Participants agreed that current trends of rapid digitization and related technological developments in industry are changing ways of doing business. The business sector, as a central driver of economic growth and job creation in many developing countries, was described as a key player in tackling today’s development challenges. By partnering with the business sector through various models, UNIDO ensures that the industry voice is funneled into the Organization’s technical assistance and normative interventions.
“Partnerships with the business sector and other key stakeholders are essential to achieving measurable and impactful inclusive and sustainable industrial development and to implementing the 2030 Agenda,” said UNIDO Industrial Development Officer Jérôme Stucki at the event. “UNIDO works to facilitate industrial investment opportunities which benefit all partners and support the transformation of local labour markets.”
UNIDO’s partnership on artisanal and small-scale gold mining with Argor-Heraeus, a global refining company, was presented to exemplify the approach. Helping gold miners in developing countries to adopt mercury-free technologies reduces the health and environmental impact of mining activities and enhances access to international markets. The partnership aims to develop a sustainable business model for the artisanal gold mining sector, which will increase national revenue, allow a continuous inflow of public investments to improve social and environmental conditions in the mining communities, as well as ensure work safety and higher income for miners and their families.
“There is a demand for artisanal produced gold. We were looking for a partner who could ensure the sustainability and inclusiveness of such production process,” said Phaedon Stamatopoulos, Director Refining and Banking at Argor-Heraeus. “I’m extremely glad to work with UNIDO on this partnership to be able to provide a concrete, mutually interesting solution to a global environmental problem while ensuring social inclusiveness.”
“Participating as a private sector representative in this conference was an eye-opener on how much the UN community is focusing on collaboration with the business sector,” Stamatopoulos added.
Stucki noted that “commercially viable partnerships have the potential to produce better development results as proven by this collaboration. Private investment and business sector involvement in accelerating development are crucial especially in the current industrial development landscape, where foreign direct investment inflows have been, and will continue to be, greater than official development assistance resources.”
UNIDO also participated in a panel focusing on private sector partnerships and the 2030 Agenda and presented its Programme for Country Partnership (PCP) approach as a concrete way to help countries broker the diverse partnerships needed at national, regional and global levels in order to build trust and mobilize assets to accelerate the achievement of industrial development goals and of the SDGs.
The four-day conference was attended by more than 200 participants representing the UN agencies, private sector, academia and diplomatic community. The event explored how to improve the contribution of the private sector for implementing the 2030 Agenda. It offered a platform for the private sector to foster partnerships with the UN system organizations in an effort to improve efficiency in the use of resources for development.