UN’s global industry body first entered Sri Lanka in 1969 for a chemical project and since then has implemented 240 projects in the country, with six new projects now on the cards.
“Sri Lanka has embarked on an ambitious development drive under the reform vision of the leaders of the Unity Government. UNIDO has implemented around 240 projects in the country with a total budget of more than $ 52 million” says Director General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization Li Yong. Yong, the former Vice-Minister of the Ministry of Finance of China, is writing about UNIDO’s presence in Sri Lanka in commemoration of 50th global anniversary of United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) that falls this Thursday, 17 November.
“UNIDO has dedicated itself to supporting industrialisation in developing countries to drive inclusive growth through productivity enhancement, employment creation and income generation. This approach is embodied in UNIDO’s mandate - inclusive and sustainable industrial development (ISID). The three thematic priorities under the ISID mandate are creating shared prosperity, advancing economic competitiveness and safeguarding the environment,” said UNIDO DG Yong in his statement, and adds: “The first UNIDO project in Sri Lanka was an intervention to assist with the development of the chemical industry in 1969. Since then, UNIDO has implemented around 240 projects in the country with a total budget of more than $ 52 million. The official counterpart of UNIDO is the Ministry of Industry, and collaboration has been guided by an agreement signed in 1999. Two integrated programs have been set up in Sri Lanka by UNIDO, the first from 1999 to 2005 and the second from 2005 until 2008. The first one covered two main areas, namely improving competitiveness and developing a quality infrastructure and protecting the environment. The second comprised projects that involved the Sri Lanka National Cleaner Production Centre and that strengthened the country’s international certification capacity. These programs were followed by a Country Programme (2010-2015) to promote industrial development, generate employment, and boost competitiveness in order to lay the foundations for Sri Lanka’s graduation from its status as a lower-middle income economy. The two main components of the Country Programme were to support sustainable livelihoods and productive activities through private sector development, and increase the competitiveness of industries and reduce poverty by introducing environmentally friendly technologies and providing quality infrastructure-related services. Historically, an important part of UNIDO’s portfolio in Sri Lanka has been trade capacity-building. Projects in this sphere began in 1999 and include building a national Standard, Metrology, Testing and Quality system, consisting of six projects that were implemented from 1999 to 2007; strengthening international certification capability in social accountability and food safety, a private sector-oriented project implemented from 2007 to 2013; and supporting the promotion of the cinnamon value chain. UNIDO has also implemented projects that supported Government institutes in upgrading several laboratories to become the first in the country to obtain international accreditation.”
Sri Lanka has embarked on an ambitious development drive under the reform vision of the leaders of the Unity Government. It is actively pursuing its goal to become an economic hub in South Asia. Sri Lanka is on the rise and aims to achieve a GDP of $ 150 billion and per capita income of $ 7,000 by 2020. The Sri Lankan industrial sector contributes almost one third of GDP and is therefore an important driver of growth. In terms of industry’s contribution to GDP, Sri Lanka is the leader in South Asia, with almost 85% of the industrial economy concentrating on manufacturing. In February 2015, in response to Sri Lanka’s call to the UN for direct and wider engagement in its industrial sector, UNIDO announced six new industrial projects. UNIDO is ready to move ahead with the Lankan people and the new Government. Six new, strong UNIDO projects are in the pipeline for Sri Lanka, which include industrial parks, climate change, chemical and waste management, and leather processing. UNIDO is committed to helping Sri Lanka boost its industrial capacity and become a major player on international markets. Having identified key industries such as bamboo and cinnamon, and focused on environment-related projects such as the elimination of POPs and PCBs, UNIDO and Sri Lanka will strive to strengthen agribusiness, boost productivity through sustainable resource utilisation, develop key sectors, make production cleaner, restore livelihoods in former conflict areas, and strengthen industrial marketing.”
On 17 November 1966, the UN General Assembly passed resolution 2152 (XXI) establishing the UNIDO as an ‘autonomous body within the United Nations.’