United Nations Industiral Development Organization




Why and when was UNIDO established?

During the 1950s and 1960s, many countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America gained their independence while during the same period countries with centrally-planned economies were seeking to achieve stability. Recognizing the key role that industry could play in economic development and social wellbeing, in 1961 the Member States of the United Nations established a Centre for Industrial Development at its Headquarters in New York. On 17 November 1966, the United Nations General Assembly passed resolution 21/52 setting up the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) as its industrial development arm. The following year, UNIDO moved its Headquarters to Vienna, Austria, where it remains today. In 1985, it became a specialized agency, with its own budget, Member States and executive head.

What are UNIDO's goals?

UNIDO works towards improving the quality of life of the world's poor by helping countries achieve sustainable industrial development. It views industrial development as a means of creating employment and income in order to overcome poverty. UNIDO helps developing countries produce goods they can trade on the global market, and helps provide the tools - training, technology, and investment - to make them competitive. At the same time, it encourages production processes that will neither harm the environment nor place too heavy a burden on a country's limited energy resources. Over two billion people, mostly in rural areas of the developing world, have no access to commercial sources of energy. One of UNIDO's priorities is to encourage the use of alternative sources of energy - solar, wind, biomass and water - and in so dong help those countries and regions affected to achieve economic growth.

What has UNIDO achieved?

Since its establishment, UNIDO has helped many countries meet their development goals through industrial development. Although sub-Saharan Africa has always been a priority area for UNIDO, in many instances individual achievements have yet to be translated into a continent-wide improvement in living standards. Much work clearly remains to be done.

How does it work?

In contrast to its earlier years, where the tendency was towards the provision of individual services, UNIDO now provides custom-made packages of services covering such areas as industrial governance and statistics, investment and technology promotion, industrial competitiveness and trade, private sector development, agro-industries, sustainable energy and environmental management it also helps countries meet their obligations under a number of multilateral environmental agreements, including the Kyoto and Montreal Protocols.

Who takes the decisions?

UNIDO follows a business plan adopted by its Industrial Development Board in 1997. The Board, comprising 53 members elected on a rotational basis from UNIDO's 171 Member States, meets three times in a two-year period to review the Organization's work and budget. Its subsidiary organ, the Program and Budget Committee (27 members) is responsible for preparing work programmes and budgets for the consideration of the Board. The highest decision-making authority is the General Conference that meets every second year. The General Conference sets out UNIDO's guiding policies, elects the members of the Industrial Development Board and the Program and Budget Committee, and every four years appoints a Director-General as the Organization's executive head. The current Director-General, Kandeh K. Yumkella from Sierra Leone, assumed office in December 2005.

How is UNIDO funded?

UNIDO draws on a regular and an operational budget, as well as on voluntary contributions for technical cooperation activities. The total volume of UNIDO operations for 2006 - 2007 is estimated at Euro 355.8 million. The regular budget represents the assessed contributions of its Member States, including other income, and amounts to Euro 154 million during the same period, while the operational budget is Euro 20.2 million. Technical cooperation expenditures, estimated at Euro 185 million for 2006 - 2007, are funded mainly through voluntary contributions from donor countries and institutions, as well as from multilateral funds and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).

How is UNIDO staffed?

UNIDO employs around 650 staff members at its Headquarters in Vienna and other established offices. In addition, for its project assignments, the Organization draws on nearly 2,800 international and national experts annually. UNIDO also has liaison offices in Geneva (Switzerland), New York (United States) and Brussels (Belgium).

Where UNIDO is present?

UNIDO is represented in some 42 countries, either by a designated country or regional office or by UNIDO Desk located within a UNDP country office. Additionally, it operates a network of 19 investment and technology promotion offices and units, finances by the countries in which they are located. It also has 43 National Cleaner Production Centres, established jointly with United Nations Environment Program and 9 International Technology Centres in various countries. 44 Subcontracting and Partnership Exchanges in over 30 countries facilitate production linkages between small, medium and large manufacturing firms and link up with global markets and supply chain networks.



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Last updated: 17.08.2009
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