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United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO)

I. Core Areas

The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), founded in 1966 with the mandate to act as the central coordinating body for industrial activities within the UN system and to promote industrial development, focuses its efforts on relieving poverty by fostering productivity growth. It helps developing countries and countries with economies in transition in their fight against marginalization and contributes to the achievement of the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs) by mobilizing knowledge, skills, information and technology to promote productive employment, competitive economy and sound environment. UNIDO operates as a global forum to generate and disseminate industry-related knowledge; and as a technical cooperation agency to provide technical support and implement projects.

The Organization focuses on three main thematic areas: Poverty reduction through productive activities; Trade capacity-building; and Energy and Environment. More specifically, UNIDO delivers on its thematic priorities through the following eight service modules: industrial governance and statistics; investment and technology promotion; industrial competitiveness and trade; private sector development; agro-industries; sustainable energy and climate change; the Montreal Protocol; and environmental management. These activities can be clustered around UNIDO’s two key areas of comparative advantage: technology diffusion and capacity building for market access and development.

Headquartered in Vienna, UNIDO also includes 44 country and regional offices, 18 investment and technology promotion offices and a number of offices related to specific aspects of its work. Mr. Kandeh K. Yumkella is the current Director-General of UNIDO, which employs 651 staff members worldwide. The estimated volume of UNIDO operations for the biennium 2010-2011 is approximately US$375 million.

II. Engagement with External Actors

Civil Society

UNIDO cooperates with CSOs within the fields of agro-industry, cluster development, rural and women entrepreneurs, productive work for youth, micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprise (MSME) development, investment promotion and transfer of technology, quality and standardization, renewable energy and environment. UNIDO aims to further increase its cooperation with CSOs as they represent and provide services to individuals as well as to all types of enterprises, ranging from the macro- to the micro-level, both in the formal and informal sectors. UNIDO’s mandate to cooperate with CSOs is enshrined in Article 2 (p) of its Constitution, which states that UNIDO shall encourage and promote the establishment and strengthening of industrial, business and professional associations and similar organizations, which would contribute to the full utilization of the internal resources of the developing countries with a view to developing their national industries. UNIDO General Conference resolutions GC.6/Res.16 and GC.7/Res.10 additionally emphasize cooperation with CSOs and urge further mobilization of funds to cover related activities.

At present 135 CSOs, mostly international, have consultative status with UNIDO, which entitles them to participate in the deliberations of the Industrial Development Board and the General Conference.1 Consultative status is granted by the Industrial Development Board in accordance with the guidelines adopted by the Board. In the field of technical cooperation, UNIDO cooperates mainly with national CSOs that do not have consultative status. The selection criteria are based on questionnaires on support institutions, which help assess the capacity of potential counterparts and their needs.

UNIDO works with two types of organizations: membership-based or self-help CSOs and third-party oriented CSOs. These include: industry and business organizations, chambers of commerce and industry, professional associations, technology associations, cooperatives, specialized CSOs (environment, women, information, standardization), trade and consumer unions, development CSOs, foundations, research and development institutions, universities and public interest organizations.

Through its networking services, the Resource Centre collects and disseminates specialized information related to CSOs, thereby becoming a virtual marketplace with concrete business/technology opportunities tailored to CSOs and their members; and an online knowledge base for the sharing of experiences and good practices between CSOs, their partners and affiliates.

Extent of Collaboration

The CSO/NGO Resource Centre
The CSO/NGO Resource Centre, launched in December 2003, is an Internet platform that aims to encourage the development of a worldwide community of interlinked CSOs to provide specific networking services for CSOs. The Resource Centre seeks to contribute to UNIDO’s global forum function by allowing all participants to interact directly and to exchange views, suggestions and opinions online.

West Africa Regional Programme (PREPAO)
With the pilot phase of the West Africa Regional Programme (PREPAO) (Programme Régional pour les Pays de l’Afrique de l’Ouest) in Guinea, Mali and Senegal, UNIDO launched a new approach to fighting poverty by providing technical, managerial and market support in particular to micro but also small agroindustrial production units through their collective organization in local CSOs.

PREPAO aims to strengthen institutional capacities of local CSOs in food processing for micro- and small-scale enterprises (MSSEs) run by women entrepreneurs, in both the formal and informal sectors. It backs up women’s entrepreneurship directly at the basis in the agro-business through small concrete projects under the auspices of the CSOs. Emphasis is placed on the provision of technologies, access to information, and upgrading of capabilities in order to meet the market requirements, therefore leading to income generation and employment opportunities.

The pilot phase revealed the extent of difficulties faced by the CSOs and MSSEs, and helped define the necessary actions to increase their capacities and capabilities. Initial progress was made in the processing and marketing of agro-alimentary products.

During the main phase the focus is put on both the technical and training level, but also on creating an enabling environment for the organizations of the private sector and civil society. These “home-grown” institutions have the capability to provide the bridge between formal and informal sector, which is a prerequisite for economic development, and to improving the living conditions of the rural poor.

Rural and Women Entrepreneurship
UNIDO offers specialized services for supporting governments and other stakeholders to improve the regulatory environment at local level for initiatives taken by and on behalf of rural and women entrepreneurs. UNIDO also promotes affordable and effective business development services by strengthening the capacity of both public and private providers to develop the entrepreneurial, managerial and technical skills of rural and women entrepreneurs, which helps improve their competitiveness and facilitates their access to finance. The services also help build the capacities of rural and women entrepreneurs as well as civil society organizations to strengthen their policy advocacy roles and collective self-help initiatives. A number of projects have been undertaken, including food-processing programmes in Mexico, Tanzania, and Viet Nam; and manufacturing textiles and related products in Kenya, among others. These projects are often replicated in other areas in the countries.

Private Sector

UNIDO’s Private Sector Development Branch aims to enhance the development contribution of the private sector by promoting industrial enterprises that drive economic growth and foster entrepreneurship, technological dynamism and associated productivity growth. Therefore, it supports the formulation of industrial policies that improve the general business environment for private sector development, as well as in building up local productive capacities in a private sector-led process. The Private Sector Development Branch also acts as the focal point within UNIDO for the Donor Committee on Small Enterprise Development and the UN Global Compact. Technically, these services are provided through UNIDO’s Business Environment and Policy Support Unit (BEP), Clusters and Business Linkages Unit (CBL), and Rural and Women Entrepreneurship and Human Security Unit(RWE).

Some programmes under these Units include:

UNIDO Business Partnership Programme for Industrial Development
UNIDO has developed a multi-stakeholder partnership approach, the Business Partnership Programme, that has been applied in different sectors (e.g. automotive components, textiles, food-processing) and countries, which helps SMEs to benefit from the technological and managerial expertise of large corporations to improve their productivity and international competitiveness.

The Business Partnership Programme offers a systematic and generic approach to the enhancement of an industry sector in a given country, focusing on the:
1. Assessment of the industry sector in a country, determining the partner institution and selecting the target companies;
2. Definition of scope of work in the programme through an established publicprivate partnership with regard to the economic, environmental and social performance of SMEs;
3. Development of the programme services for SMEs with national and/or international business partners, e.g. multinational corporations;
4. Development of a quantitative and comprehensive assessment and monitoring system for SMEs in the sector concerned; and
5. Provision of practical services for SMEs in a sustainable way, allowing partner institutions to generate income by providing commercially viable services for SMEs and thereby operating independently after a period of 3-5 years.

Based on the Partnership Programme methodology, UNIDO has launched a corporate social responsibility (CSR) capacity-building initiative in order to promote the CSR agenda in developing countries. The programme focuses on establishing a platform that can provide practical services in relation to the implementation of CSR concepts at the policy, institutional and company level in order for SMEs to comply with the increasingly stringent monitoring and reporting requirements.

Investment and Technology Promotion Offices (ITPOs)
These Promotion Offices foster industrial partnerships and provide services necessary to promote investment and technology transfer. ITPO staff maintain active links with the business community and development agencies in the host countries as well as extensive databanks of companies interested in industrial partnerships in developing countries and countries in transition.

UNIDO Exchange
Since 2001, UNIDO Exchange has been providing online access to UNIDO expertise and linkages between its members, including a database featuring technical barriers to trade; online interactive UNIDO tools and methods for business/technology development and the environment; and access to other UNIDO activities and service modules. UNIDO Exchange operates a website serving as a virtual marketplace for investment, environmental and technological opportunities, and provides specialized information and expertise. Membership ranges from private enterprises and entities affiliated to UNIDO (such as the ITPOs) to government departments and specialized media, and members are able to interact through the network’s forums. Its free SHARE software ensures efficient communication.

Subcontracting and Partnership Exchanges: SPX - Supply Chain Development Programme
Because developing countries and countries in transition do not always have sufficient technological and institutional capacities, UNIDO has established subcontracting and partnership exchanges (SPXs), which serve as centres for technical information and matchmaking, and clearinghouses for partnership enquiries. An SPX may also be instrumental in providing or identifying technical support, advice on standards and marketing, access to credit, legal advice and training. In the past 20 years, some 65 SPXs have been established of which 56 are still operating on a self-financing basis. In 2005, new SPXs have been established in Accra (Ghana), Beijing and Chongqing (China) and Doha (Qatar).

SME Cluster Promotion
UNIDO has developed an SME cluster/network approach for local private sector development. The approach has proven effective for poverty alleviation, when targeted at rural and/or handicraft producers, and for productivity enhancement and export promotion, especially when targeted at more growth-oriented larger SMEs. In implementing this service UNIDO, has established partnerships with the International Labour Organization, the International Trade Centre, the World Bank, donor countries and research institutions.

Sustainable Business Information Networks
UNIDO’s Business Information Networks (BIN) provide all types of information and knowledge required to make business thrive and grow: market intelligence, technology sources, investment partners, environmental regulations, etc. Increasingly, they also provide training in the use of information and communication technologies. A BIN is established as an SME with shareholders, which include public and private sector service providers. It operates from the outset on a commercial basis, providing all services against a fee.

Extent of Collaboration

Eco-Efficiency for SMEs in the Manufacturing Industry
BASF, the German chemical corporation, the National Cleaner Production Centre (NCPC) in Morocco, and UNIDO have developed a service to promote sustainable development of SMEs in the dyeing industry in Morocco and elsewhere. In Morocco, UNIDO and BASF brought together their expertise in the dyeing industry while the NCPC enabled access to target companies and ensured wide dissemination of the methodology and training to a large number of them. An eco-efficiency management tool was customized by the NCPC so as to meet the requirements of a large number of manufacturing SMEs in Morocco, not only in the dyeing industry. NCPC staff were trained on the application of the eco-efficiency manager and the related improvements at the company level.

The Women Entrepreneurship Development (WED) Programme in Central VietNam—Phase 1
With the objectives of building national capacities to provide training and support activities for entrepreneurship development for women in food processing in three provinces in the central region of Viet Nam, the project, from January 2002 to December 2005, identified the training needs of women entrepreneurs (WE); adapted and developed training guides and handbooks for trainers and WE on food technology, marketing and finance management; set up and trained trainers to provide training for WE; built capacity for women’s unions to provide further support to WE through linking WE to credit sources or other institutions, organizing and managing self-help groups of WE; leased-purchased machines and equipment to groups of WE for better productivity, quality of product and to help reduce heavy labour for women.

The project helped revive two traditional villages. Among 577 women entrepreneurs trained, 72% reported increased sales and 67% increased profit, through better packaging, improved product quality, shelf life, hygiene and safety. The project also helped contribute to gender equality.

III. Organizational Resources

Contact Info

Name: Ms. Jeannine Orlowski
Title: Policy-Making Organs Secretariat and External Relations
Address: Vienna International Centre, PO Box 300, A-1400 Vienna, Austria
Telephone: +43-1-26026-3599
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

IV. Information Resources

* UNIDO Website
* Consultative Status of cooperation with NGOs
* Programme concept UNIDO-YES2002 : West Africa Regional Programme PREPAO
* Rural and Women Entrepreneurship
* Business Partnership 
* Investment and Technology Promotion Offices
* UNIDO Exchange
* Subcontracting and Partnership Exchanges (SPX)
* SME Cluster Promotion
* Capacity-building for business information networking

Additional Resources
* UNIDO Partnerships
* UNIDO’s Corporate Strategy: Productivity Enhancement for Social Advance
* UNIDO Business Partnerships for Industrial Development Partnership Guide

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