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The UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), a specialized agency to the United Nations, aims at helping the developing countries attain sustainable industrial development. UNIDO was established in 1966, as a division within the United Nations. The 2 nd General Conference of UNIDO in Lima in 1975 adopted a Lima Declaration and Plan of Action on Industrial Development and Cooperation that asked for the establishment of UNIDO as a specialized agency of UN. In 1977, the Industrial Development Fund (IDF) was established to enable UNIDO to provide technical assistance. A constitution was adopted in 1979 which entered into force in June 1985 following its required ratification by 80 members. This established UNIDO as a specialized agency of the United Nations in 1985 .

As of 1 April 2019, UNIDO has 170 Member States. The Member States of UNIDO meet once every two years at the General Conference (GC), which is the supreme governing body of UNIDO. The General Conference also elects representatives to the other two governing bodies of UNIDO i.e. the Industrial Development Board (53 seats each with a four year term) and the Programme and Budget Committee (27 seats with a two year term). The Industrial Development Board (IDB) reviews the implementation of the work programme and budget and makes recommendations to the General Conference on policy matters. It meets once in the year the General Conference is held and twice in other years. The Programme and Budget Committee (PBC) assists IDB in the preparation and examination of the programme of budget and other financial matters. It meets once a year. The UNIDO Secretariat is headed by a Director General. The current Director General is Mr. Li Yong.

UNIDO derives its mandate to support industrial development of developing countries and countries with economies in transition from its Constitution and a number of policy documents approved by the governing bodies of the Organisation such the Business Plan on Future Role and Functions of UNIDO, Strategic Guidelines towards Improved UNIDO Programme Delivery and the Corporate Strategy governing its developmental interventions. The last General Conference of UNIDO was held in Abu Dhabi from 3-7 November 2019.

The mission of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), as described in the Lima Declaration adopted at the fifteenth session of the UNIDO General Conference in 2013, is to promote and accelerate inclusive and sustainable industrial development (ISID) in Member States.

The relevance of ISID as an integrated approach to all three pillars of sustainable development is recognized by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which will frame United Nations and country efforts towards sustainable development in the next fifteen years. UNIDO’s mandate is fully recognized in SDG-9, which calls to “Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation”. The relevance of ISID, however, applies in greater or lesser extent to all SDGs.

Accordingly, the Organization’s programmatic focus is structured, as detailed in the Organization's Medium-Term Programme Framework 2018-2021, in four strategic priorities:

  • Creating shared prosperity
  • Advancing economic competitiveness
  • Safeguarding the environment
  • Strengthening knowledge and institutions

Each of these programmatic fields of activity contains a number of individual programmes, which are implemented in a holistic manner to achieve effective outcomes and impacts through UNIDO’s four enabling functions: (i) technical cooperation; (ii) analytical and research functions and policy advisory services; (iii) normative functions and standards and quality-related activities; and (iv) convening and partnerships for knowledge transfer, networking and industrial cooperation.

In carrying out the core requirements of its mission, UNIDO has considerably increased its technical services over the past ten years. At the same time, it has also substantially increased its mobilization of financial resources, testifying to the growing international recognition of the Organization as an effective provider of catalytic industrial development services.

The Organization focuses on activities that support the effort of developing countries to participate in the world production system by helping them to raise productivity, develop a competitive economy, generate employment opportunities and promote environmentally sustainable industrial development. In achieving these objectives, the UNIDO maintains close partnership with multilateral developmental agencies.

The UNIDO Secretariat is headquartered in the Vienna International Centre, Vienna.
Wagramer Strasse 5, A-1400, Vienna, Austria
Tel No. +43 1 26026 0
Website: External website that opens in a new window

India and UNIDO

India, a founding member of UNIDO, is among the top ten contributors to the organization and takes an active interest in the functioning of UNIDO. It makes a voluntary contribution of around over US$ 1 million annually in addition to its annual regular budget. India has been represented almost continuously in the UNIDO governing bodies – Industrial Development Board (IDB) and Programme and Budget Committee (PBC).

UNIDO has a Regional Office located in New Delhi. India also hosts a centre for South- South Cooperation under the aegis of UNIDO. UNIDO has been delivering technical cooperation services in India since its establishment in 1966. In the late 1960’s and 1970’s, the country needed to establish small industries and a manufacturing base that could produce basic goods and generate jobs. The 1970’s saw a shift towards light industries and agro-industries, for which UNIDO provided such services as metrology, testing and quality control, research and development, marketing and export promotion. In the 1980s and 1990s the Indian economy moved towards deregulation. UNIDO’s interventions shifted towards enhancing productivity and efficiency and increasing avenues of investment for small enterprises and manufacturing units. As environmental protection had come under the spotlight, UNIDO expanded its services into areas such as waste and effluent treatment, pollution control, waste minimization and cleaner production and transfer of environmentally sound technologies.

Year 2001 marked the transition to a programmatic approach for the UNIDO services in the country. During 2001-2007, UNIDO worked in four thematic areas: strengthening the competitiveness of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) through technology-led interventions; promoting foreign direct investment (FDI); promoting cleaner and environmentally friendly technologies and policies; and alleviating poverty and promoting industrial growth in less developed areas. The 2008-2012 programme was directed towards inclusive growth.

The recent 2013-2017 country programme had two thematic components in India, namely: promotion of green industrial development; and inclusive economic development, and a crosscutting priority outside India on South-South Industrial Cooperation. During the period 2013-2017, the country programme consisted of 24 projects with the budget of USD 96 million including Project Support Costs (PSC) and has mobilized USD 377 million in co-financing by the Government and private sectors in India, making the total portfolio size of around USD 473 million. These projects focused on: increased competitiveness, sustainable consumption and employment generation, primarily through SME growth (Cement, Pulp and Paper, Leather, Automotive Components; Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy in MSMEs; CleanTech and Sustainable Cities. All projects have a clear link to ISID and SDG 9 as well as SDGs 7, 8, 11, 12 and 13 (renewable/clean energy, decent work, sustainable cities, sustainable production and consumption and climate change, respectively).

The India Country Programme (CP) represents the second largest UNIDO country portfolio. Over 400 UNIDO projects have been implemented in India since 1966. Besides the annual contribution of over 0.84 Million Euros equivalent to 1.23% of total assessed contribution of UNIDO for 2019-20, India also provides USD 1.2 million as annual voluntary contribution to the Industrial Development Fund (IDF) of UNIDO, which funds the various activities of UNIDO projects in India as also activities in third countries under the South-South cooperation. Besides this, sizable funds are provided by other international organizations like GEF for executing projects.We stand ready with our offer to expand such collaborations with UNIDO.

India and UNIDO have together set up an International Centre for Inclusive and Sustainable Industrial Development (IC-ISID) in New Delhi. The Centre promotes the ISID agenda not only in Indian industry, but also in other developing countries.

The India-UNIDO Country Programme (CP) portfolio expanded beyond working exclusively with the main country partner and nodal agency, Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT). DPIIT and the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MoMSME) have contributed to the greatest number of projects. Projects were categorized into two components:

(i)         Green Industrial Development and
(ii)        Inclusive Economic Development.

5.         Overview of the 2013-2017 UNIDO Country Programme in India:

ComponentBudget*ProjectsExpenditures** in USD
Green Industrial Development75.1886.41140.07
Inclusive Economic Development11.8213.06139.44

Note: * Excluding Project Support Costs (PSC); ** includes expenditures on projects that started pre-2013 External website that opens in a new window External website that opens in a new window External website that opens in a new window

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