November 30 - December 03, 2015

CGDC @ the 16th Session of the UNIDO General Conference

As a part of the CGDC’s partnership with UNIDO, we participated in the 16th session of the UNIDO General Conference, which was held in Vienna from 30 November to 3 December 2015. Delegates from all over the world gathered to exchange ideas and reach solutions towards sustainable industrialization for shared prosperity. Special attention was given to the criticality of Sustainable Development Goal 9, which focuses on building resilient infrastructure, promoting inclusive and sustainable industrialization, and fostering innovation.
A memorable moment during the UNIDO General Conference was the keynote speech by Prof. Joseph Stiglitz, a recipient of the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences. His remarks were delivered with great sense of humor, while revealing some of the gravest issues in today’s economic reality. Prof. Stiglitz disagreed with innovation being directed towards saving labor (like we don’t have a high enough unemployment rates already), instead of focusing it on environmental protection. Further, he named some market failures when it comes to financing innovation and industrial policies: savings vs. the need of investments, short-term financial markets attempting to intermediate between long-term savings and investments, just to name a few.
In conclusion, Prof. Stiglitz presented his view on the government instruments to promote industrial development e.g. creating a learning society, intellectual property legislation, competitive and stable exchange rates, development banks, the price of carbon, anti-trust policies.
Another highlight in the event’s program was the panel on Sustainable Industrialization for Climate Action. This discussion attracted most delegates’ attention and raised some controversy under the brilliant moderation of CNN’s Todd Benjamin. All participants agreed that while industry can be both – the problem and the solution, when it comes to climate action – innovation is the way to take climate action without compromising economic development. However, a substantial part of the decisions are still political e.g. regulations on CO2 emissions, technology transfer and sharing, energy access and efficiency. Therefore, what policy-makers can do is have a clear vision and stop changing the rules, if they would like to lead and industry to follow the way towards sustainability.