5:57 AM Nov 2, 1995


Geneva 1 Nov (TWN) -- The Vienna-based United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) has received strong support and backing from three international fora for its role in promoting sustainable development through industrialization of developing countries.

In affirming "full recognition of UNIDO's crucial role in advancement of industrialization and in economic and social transformation", the heads of State/Government of the Non-Aligned Movement, at their meeting in Cartagena last month, rejected "the proposals and suggestions that UNIDO has served its purpose and should therefore close down."

The closure of UNIDO, along with UNCTAD and ECOSOC, had been advocated by the 'Global Governance Commission', and the US and British governments have been trying to push this, arguing among other things that industrialization should be left to market forces.

The Global Forum on Industry, at its recent meeting in New Delhi stressed "rapid industrialization as the main engine of growth for the developing countries to achieve their development goals" and said that UNIDO should play a unique role in facilitating major changes in global industry and further privatization, globalization and liberalization of trade and investment increases in importance."

"Rapid technological change and its impact on global industry underline the need for UNIDO to regularly assess growth trends and key industrial issues," the Global Forum said in recognizing UNIDO's role as "a provider of specialized services including policy advice, technology management and transfer, human resource development, promoting industrial partnerships and support for compliance with international conventions and standards."

The Industry Ministers of the Asia and Pacific Region, who held their regional meeting in New Delhi after the Global Forum, in their declaration stressed that industrialization would remain an essential component of the efforts of all countries, including those of the Asia-Pacific region, to achieve sustainable development based on optimum use of human and other resources and the role of industry and its accelerated promotion remained essential for economic, social and human advancement, as well as for employment generation and elimination of poverty.

The Ministers supported fully the position of the Group of 77 and NAM that UN organizations promoting and enhancing international economic cooperation for sustained economic growth and sustainable development on a global scale including UNCTAD and UNIDO should be strengthened.

The Ministers affirmed the "central and vital role" of UNIDO in the UN system in the field of industrial development and the very commendable progress UNIDO has made in implementing unprecedented reforms designed to make it a more effective and efficient instrument for industrial development, with a more clearly defined role, keeping in view changes in the global economy and increasing needs of developing countries for more specialized technical cooperation in the field of industry.

"We therefore feel," the Ministers said in their New Delhi declaration, "that in any agenda for development adopted by the UN, the importance of sustainable industrial development and the specialized role of UNIDO should be fully taken into account and further strengthened."

The Ministers expressed their concern in this light over suggestions that promotion of industrial development should be left entirely to market forces and that international organizations such as UNDO have no longer any role to play in this process.

"On the contrary," the Ministers declared, "we consider that UNIDO has assumed even greater importance and that it is an essential and vital component of the activities of the UN system. We call upon all member States of the UNIDO to continue to fully support the organization in carrying out its approved programmes and activities. We support all measures to alleviate the cash flow problems of the organization, caused by uncertainty in payment of assessed contribution."