The high-level week of the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in September 2023 took place at the midpoint of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to reaffirm the world’s shared commitment to ending poverty and hunger everywhere.
In addition to the annual high-level opening of the UNGA general debate, the second SDG Summit and the Climate Ambition Summit were among the highlights that drew world leaders to New York. The SDG Summit adopted a political declaration that committed to accelerating action to achieve the 17 SDGs, to drive economic prosperity and well-being for all people, while protecting the environment, including through “sustainable industrialization”.
The events organized by UNIDO and the meetings held with global leaders drew attention to the innovative solutions and collective actions that UNIDO is promoting to build a better future. Specifically, Director General Gerd Müller brought concrete proposals for climate action, ending hunger, sustainable supply chains, and industrial decarbonization. Müller stressed that we do not need more speeches and papers but practical solutions. He also called on developed countries to keep to past commitments such as the agreement at the UN General Assembly in 1970 to give at least 0.7% of their gross national income in development aid.
Preceding the SDG Summit, the UN high-impact initiatives were presented on SDG Acceleration Day. UNIDO as a key partner of the Transforming4Trade and Food Systems Transformation initiatives shared its vision at Sunday’s related events.
On the sidelines of Monday’s SDG Summit, UNIDO and Deloitte convened a high-level public-private roundtable “#ThoughtForFood”, attended by DG Müller and Deputy to the Director General Fatou Haidara, which brought together critical actors across global food supply chains. The event also witnessed the start of new cooperation between UNIDO and Deloitte.
Another key UNIDO side event on the decarbonization of heavy-emitting industries, co-hosted by the government of Germany, took place on the margins of the Climate Ambition Summit on Wednesday. The event, co-hosted by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action represented by State Secretary Anja Hadjuk, built momentum for a technical assistance facility on industrial decarbonization, which has already received significant pledges and will be launched during COP28.
UNIDO’s outreach during the week extended beyond government and private sector spheres when Director General Müller delivered a keynote address at the 11th annual International Development Conference of Sustainable Development, hosted by Jeffrey Sachs at Columbia University.
The high-level week also saw the announcement of the UNIDO Innovation Award for international companies and cities that have made remarkable contributions to sustainable industrialization on a global scale.
While in New York, Director General Müller actively engaged with world leaders to advance the Organization’s mission.
A productive discussion with the Prime Minister of Iceland, Katrín Jakobsdóttir, highlighted Iceland’s exemplary role in sustainable energy, the green transition and gender equality, and the significant contribution the country could make as a Member State of UNIDO.
With Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh of Viet Nam, the Director General discussed UNIDO’s new country programme, which will focus on industrial policy, digitalization and climate action.
In addition, a meeting with Demeke Mekonnen, Deputy Prime Minister of Ethiopia, highlighted the longstanding cooperation between UNIDO and Ethiopia, particularly in the development of integrated agro-industrial parks as part of the ongoing Programme for Country Partnership.
In preparation for his mission to Costa Rica, Müller held a productive meeting with Foreign Minister Arnoldo Tinoco, discussing the new Country Programme and cooperation plans ranging from biodiversity protection to green hydrogen and circular economy.
The Director General also discussed the global clean energy transition with COP28 President-Designate and Special Envoy for Climate Change of the United Arab Emirates, Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, after his statement at the Climate Ambition Summit.
A meeting with FIFA President Gianni Infantino concerned collaboration to help African cotton-producers enter the global football apparel market. Additionally, the Director General held talks with philanthropists Tony Elumelu and Mo Ibrahim on how to build up skills and entrepreneurship for young people in Africa.
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