United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) Director General Li Yong in an article exclusively written for the Iranian media on the occasion of 50thAnniversary of UNIDO (1966-2016) said UNIDO is going to assist the Government of Islamic Republic of Iran in assessing the impact of energy and environmental policies on industrial development, job creation and the environment, and establishing the basis for behavioural change and resource mobilization required to deliver sizeable impacts, thereby achieving inclusive and sustainable industrial development.
The full text of the article reads:
The Islamic Republic of Iran was a founding member of the United Nations back in 1945, and since then has played a significant role in the development of the organization. Today Iran actively participates in the work of the UN, its specialized agencies, programmes and funds. Iran joined United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) in 1985 and the UNIDO Country Office opened in Tehran in 1999.
The UNIDO office in Iran works in partnership with the Government to respond to national development priorities through tailor-made programmes, developed together with various government and non-government organizations, as well as private sector counterparts. Some of these programmes are partly funded by the Government, others by the private sector and multilateral funds.
As agreed with the Government of Iran, the aim of UNIDO’s work is to support Iran’s efforts to reduce social imbalance by creating employment opportunities, adding value to non-oil related products, promoting sustainable development through the development of non-oil industries, and mitigating the environmental impact of industrial activities. UNIDO’s core work covers four strategic areas, namely: strengthening small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs); improving business environment; modernizing agro/rural-based industries; and improving resource efficiency and addressing environmental and climate change-related issues.
Since 1963, UNIDO has implemented projects in Iran with a total value of USD78 million, and the present portfolio is about USD23 million. The nature of UNIDO’s projects in Iran has followed the evolving international industrial scenario. It shifted from assisting with the heavy industry sectors including pulp and paper, iron and steel, and fertilizer industries in the 1970’s and 1980s, to the tertiary sector that developed in the 1990s and 2000s.
From the 1990s, UNIDO has been assisting Iran in the implementation of international environmental agreements, such as the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, and the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants. Today, UNIDO is extending its assistance to the implementation of the Minamata Convention on mercury, and to comply with the greenhouses gas emissions targets agreed at the COP21 conference on climate change in Paris in December 2015.
With regard to Montreal Protocol, with the assistance of UNIDO, the Government of Iran was one of the first to meet the 2015 HCFCs phase-out target. HCFCs are ozone-depleting substances which are utilized in everyday life, including in refrigerators and air conditioning devices. In this regard, in an effort to integrate ozone-layer protection with industrial development, UNIDO introduced hydrocarbon technology in Iran’s polyurethane foam production. This technology protects the ozone layer and reduces the negative impact of polyurethane foam manufacturing on climate change. In addition, the project has created a number of jobs because the equipment used is entirely manufactured in Iran.
UNIDO is now at the forefront of assisting Iran with coping with new challenges in the context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. UNIDO will work together with the Government of Iran to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in particular two of them: Goal 9 – Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation; and Goal 13 – Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.
The tasks ahead are paramount, both for the international community and the Iranian people. Therefore, the Government of Iran needs UNIDO’s assistance more than ever to achieve inclusive and sustainable industrial development. Complex challenges, such as creating jobs, ensuring environmental sustainability, gaining market access, diversifying the economy away from reliance on the oil sector, fostering resource efficiency, and providing government subsidies, have to be integrated into a renewed industrial and social strategy with policies that carefully balance costs and benefits.
In terms of strategy, when implementing UNIDO’s projects in Iran, particularly in the area of energy and environment, it is clear that technology is not the main barrier, rather, the lack of awareness and financing are impeding sustainable development in Iran.
In terms of awareness, there is the need for a change in the production and consumption patterns. UNIDO’s Energy Management System project has demonstrated that the Energy Management System alone can deliver an annual 8 per cent of reduction in energy consumption in key industries, at nearly zero cost.
In terms of financing, when addressing global environmental issues such as climate change, the size of the task is so big and complex that no single government or international fund can combat the problem alone.
In the upcoming years, UNIDO is going to assist the Government of Iran in assessing the impact of energy and environmental policies on industrial development, job creation and the environment, and establishing the basis for behavioural change and resource mobilization required to deliver sizeable impacts, thereby achieving inclusive and sustainable industrial development.
This post was originally published by United Nations Information Centre, Tehran. Click here to read.