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United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

United Nations Industrial Development (UNIDO)

1. How has the COVID-19 pandemic changed the priorities of your organization? 

The pandemic and related containment measures have hit the industrial sector, a major employer and source of income, in various ways. Shop closures, unemployment, lower incomes for both workers and business owners, and other uncertainties on the consumer side resulted in reduced demand for goods and products. Countries that are traditional producers, for example of leather, textiles, and wearing apparel, machinery, and motor vehicles, were hit particularly hard. With factories either closed or operating well below capacity, manufacturing output had also dropped, resulting in declining trade and disruptions in cross-border production networks.   

The pandemic made it evident that manufacturing and industries play a crucial role. In addition to creating jobs and incomes, industry is critical for providing essential goods, food products, medical and pharmaceutical products. Industry played an important role in the response to the health crisis and took swift action following calls by governments to speed up and scale up the production of critical supplies. Some firms temporarily repurposed their production to meet the increased demand for personal protective equipment for the health care sector and the wider population.    Drawing on the lessons learned and experience with the COVID-19 pandemic, UNIDO has since included in its strategic priorities for its new programming cycle, 2022-2025 a special initiative on COVID-19 recovery.  This initiative will focus on efforts related to socio-economic recovery and build on the Organization’s COVID-19 response and recovery framework.   

2. In 2020/2021, how has your organization endeavored to support Member States to build back better from COVID-19 while advancing the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda? Please select up to three high-impact initiatives to highlight, especially those that address interlinkages among the SDGs. How has your organization cooperated with other UN system organizations in those efforts to achieve coherence and synergies?

Name Sustainable and inclusive industrial development of the automotive supply chain in Colombia through enhanced quality and productivity

Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism of Colombia (MINCIT), and its “Colombia Productiva”

Initiative and UN Women

Relevant SDGs SDGs 5, 9, 17
Member States benefiting from the initiative Colombia

The global COVID-19 pandemic severely impacted the automotive industry where by the end of March 2020, more than 80% of all North American vehicle production was put on hold, following governments’ instructions to protect employees’ health and safety, as well as to adjust to significant reductions in demand. This included the US, Mexico and Canada, which are important target export-markets for Colombian suppliers. Within Colombia, companies faced serious restrictions due to theCOVID-19 outbreak. On 24 March 2020, the Colombian government ordered the temporary closure of non-essential companies, which included most auto parts manufacturers and its two main vehicle production plants, which suspended operations temporarily. In order to support the country in countering the new challenges that arose due to the COVID-19 crisis, UNIDO developed a set of guidelines for the industry to restart production to support and ensure business continuity, and to enable firms to apply all possible measures to prevent contagion and protect the health of workers and customers. The guidelines were prepared based on good organizational practices and recommendations issued by health and business- related authorities and organizations. It sought to support needed decision-making related to the adjustments during the industrial reactivation process. These adopted pioneering guidelines were scaled-up for use in other industries in Colombia. At the enterprise level, the initiative provided automotive component suppliers with training to build their capacity on how to re-activate production following the nationwide lockdown. An extensive set of webinar- based trainings were provided to employees and managers of the companies on how to implement the industry guidelines to reactivate production. Efforts were also made to strengthen national capacities to build the resilience of the automotive enterprises. UNIDO and ProColombia, the Colombian government’s agency in charge of promoting domestic and foreign investments and exports published a “Guide for Investors: Colombian Automotive Industry” to reinvigorate investments. The initiative has also helped raise awareness, and promoted the uptake of the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs), established by the UN Global Compact and UN Women offering guidance to businesses on the promotion of gender equality and women’s empowerment in the Columbia automotive industry.



Name West Africa Competitiveness and Quality Infrastructure Project (WACQIP)

International Trade Center (ITC), ECOWASn

Relevant SDGs SDGs 9, 17
Member States benefiting from the initiative West African states

Responding to the pandemic, UNIDO quickly adapted its technical assistance support Programmes in West Africa, its West Africa Competitiveness Programme (WACOMP) to enable it to maintain efforts to overcome existing challenges of limited competitiveness of enterprises and the need for better value-chain integration at regional and national levels to help scale- up sustainable structural transformation. As a result of the agile adaptation of the project to the situation posed by the pandemic, two ECOWAS standards on barrier masks for non-sanitary use and hydro-alcoholic gels were successfully developed, and subsequently validated and submitted for emergency adoption by 15 National Standards Bodies. The ECOWAS standards on technical specifications for the manufacture of consumer masks for non-sanitary use (ECOSTAND 082:2020 Barrier Masks - Minimum Requirements - Methods of Testing - Making and Use [Serial Manufacture and Artisanal Making or DIY]) and hydro- alcoholic hand products (ECOSTAND 083:2020 Hydro- alcoholic products –Hand Sanitizer - Specifications and test methods) have since been approved. The adoption of the two ECOWAS standards will foster consumer protection, health, and safety in West Africa and support the resilience building of industries in West Africa. The two adopted ECOWAS standards will also become the benchmark in all 15 ECOWAS countries for the production of barrier masks for non-sanitary use and hydro-alcoholic hand products. It will foster regional trade and ensure enhanced safety of these products to the West African consumers



Name Support for transitioning from conventional plastics to more environmentally sustainable alternative

The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and the University of Witwatersrand (Wits University)

Relevant SDGs SDGs 9, 13, 17
Member States benefiting from the initiative South Africa

Waste pickers play pivotal roles in recycling systems however often they are not recognized as key players. In South Africa there is a movement to integrate waste pickers as a government initiative in order to strengthen recycling capacity. The COVID19 pandemic has greatly affected the activities of waste pickers. With more than 60,000 waste pickers who play a substantial role in the waste management industry of the country, collecting 80 to 90% of used recyclables collected on an annual basis, under its level 5 lockdown regulations, their daily earnings were impacted by the restriction of movement. In addition, with the lifting of the lockdown restrictions, waste pickers have been risking their lives and safety as the pandemic continues to generate new types of hazardous infectious waste that could be contaminated by the virus. UNIDO responded to the situation by working with stakeholders to provide personal protective equipment (PPE) to members of the South African Waste Pickers Association (SAWPA) at four integration sites in the Free State, KwaZulu-Natal, and the Western Cape in early 2020. Sixty per cent of the waste pickers at the four participating sites are women. The PPE consists of work jackets and trousers, masks, gloves and work boots. UNIDO also donated a four-ton truck to contribute to a safer and more secure working environment for waste pickers. These initiatives are results of the US$136 million flash appeal launched by the United Nations in South Africa in April 2020, which aims to assist up to 10 million people in vulnerable communities facing various risks caused by the COVID- 19 pandemic.



3. Has your organization published or is it planning to publish any analytical work or guidance note or toolkits to guide and support recovery efforts from COVID-19 while advancing SDG implementation at national, regional and global levels? Please select up to three high-impact resources to highlight, especially those that address interlinkages among the SDGs. 

ESCWA has mainstreamed COVID-19 into its publications, including those on SDG implementation. Major initiatives that have dealt with the impact of COVID-19 on the attainment of the SDGs in the Arab region include a series of policy briefs examining the socioeconomic impact of COVID-19 in the region and the Arab Forum for Sustainable Development Background Note series, which examines the effects of the pandemic on the attainment of specific SDGs in countries throughout the region.

Name Building a Better Future
Publishing entity UNIDO
Relevant SDGs SDGs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17
Target audience Public

Consolidated resources related to how UNIDO is working with its Member States and partners to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, to recover from its socio-economic consequences, and to build a better future together.

Link to access

Language English


Name Responding to the COVID-19 Crisis, Pathway to Business Continuity and Recovery: Guidance for MSMEs
Publishing entity UNIDO
Relevant SDGs SDGs 9
Target audience MSMEs

This guidance is intended for owners, managers, and staff of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) who seek some orientation while dealing with the effects the COVID-19 pandemic may have on their businesses.

Link to access…

Language English


Name UNIDO Survey on the impact of COVID-19 on manufacturing firms around the world
Publishing entity UNIDO
Relevant SDGs SDGs 9
Target audience Policymakers

The data collected is expected to inform and guide policymakers in the design and implementation of economic recovery and resilience measures for the industrial sector, to set countries back on the path of structural transformation based on inclusive and sustainable industrial development.

Link to access

Language English


4. How has your organization engaged with stakeholder groups to support SDG implementation and COVID-19 recovery at national, regional and global levels? Please provide main highlights, including any lessons learned. If your organization has established multi-stakeholder partnerships in this regard, please describe them (objectives, partners involved, relevant SDGs, Member States benefiting from the partnership) and provide links to relevant websites, if applicable.

Sharing of information, knowledge and best practices, joint measures, policy coherence and a multilateral response are essential.

Name The Learning and Knowledge Development Facility (LKDF)
Partners Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency and various private sector businesses
Relevant SDGs SDGs 4, 9
Member States benefiting from the initiative Ethiopia, Iraq, Liberia, Morocco, Southern Africa, Uruguay, Zambia
Description The Learning and Knowledge Development Facility (LKDF) is a platform that promotes industrial skills development among young people in emerging economies. Working with the private sector through Public Private Development Partnerships, the LKDF supports the establishment and upgrading of local industrial training academies to help meet the labour market’s increasing demand for skilled employees, ultimately contributing to inclusive and sustainable industrial development.


Name Programme for Country Partnerships (PCPs)
Partners Multi-stakeholders programe
Relevant SDGs SDGs 9, supporting the other SDGs, depending on the design of the PCP
Member States benefiting from the initiative Cambodia, Cote d’Ivoire, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kyrgyzstan, Morocco, Peru, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania, Zambia
Description The PCP is UNIDO’s innovative model for accelerating inclusive and sustainable industrial development in Member States. Aligned with the national development agenda and focused on sectors with high growth potential, the programme supports a country in achieving its industrial development goals. The PCP rests on a multi-stakeholder partnership led by the host government. It builds synergies with ongoing government and partner interventions relevant to industrial development. The PCP leverages additional investment in selected priority sectors. As such, it is a model that facilitates the mobilization of partners and resources to achieve larger development impact.


5. In the 2019 SDG Summit declaration (GA Resolution 74/4), Member States outlined ten priority areas for accelerated action in SDG implementation. Please highlight any major integrated and innovative policies or initiatives that your organization may have adopted in these ten priority areas:

5.1 leaving no one behind

5.2 mobilizing adequate and well-directed financing

The Private Financing Advisory Network

5.3 enhancing national implementation

5.4 strengthening institutions for more integrated solutions

The UNIDO theory of change, and results management framework is premised on an actor-based, behavioural change model where the Organization’s results chain links its activities and outputs to outcomes and relevant impact levels. Knowledge, skills and institutional capacities are important enabling elements of the UNIDO theory of change. Through the strengthening of knowledge and institutions by as a result of the interventions and engagement between UNIDO and its stakeholders, developmental impact is achieved through changes in behaviour, business practices, policies, technologies and investments, ultimately contributing to long-lasting SDG impact through inclusive and sustainable industrial development.

5.5 bolstering local action; 

5.6 reducing disaster risk and building resilience

5.7 solving challenges through international cooperation and enhancing the global partnership

Industrial Development Report Series The Industrial Development Report (IDR) is a bi-annual flagship publication of UNIDO. The Report covers the latest developments and trends in the area of industrial development in a global context. Each issue focuses on a pertinent aspects of industrial development based on global development trends, and provides policy implications for consideration at the global, regional and national levels. Publications of interest include: • Industrial Development Report 2022: The future of industrialization in a post-pandemic world • Industrial Development Report 2020: Industrialization in the Digital Age • Industrial Development Report 2018: Demand for Manufacturing: Driving Inclusive and Sustainable Industrial Development • Industrial Development Report 2016: The Role of Technology and Innovation in Inclusive and Sustainable Industrial Development • Industrial Development Report 2013: Sustainable Employment Growth: The Role of Manufacturing and Structural Change

5.8 harnessing science, technology and innovation with a greater focus on digital transformation for sustainable development


5.9 investing in data and statistics for the SDGs

UNIDO Statistics Data Portal UNIDO maintains a statistics data portal which is overseen by its Statistics Division. The Statistics Division of UNIDO is responsible for collecting industrial data from countries, compilation of internationally comparable data, to support increased adoption and compliance with internationally agreed standards and to strengthen national statistical capacity. Monitoring SDG 9 UNIDO is the custodian agency of six indicators on industry-related targets under SDG9. As part of this role, UNIDO is responsible for global monitoring of these SDG indicators and reporting to the Inter-Agency Expert Group on SDG indicators (IAEG-SDG). In doing so, UNIDO publishes a biennial thematic report on Statistical Indicators of Inclusive and Sustainable Industrialization, which provides an analysis of global trends to track the progress towards achieving SDG9 targets. The latest report is the Statistical Indicators of Inclusive and Sustainable Industrialization: Biennial Progress Report 2021. Industrial Analytical Platform The UNIDO Industrial Analytical Platform (IAP) features data on selected indicators of industrial development and provides relevant research by leading experts in the field in an accessible format. It is aimed at supporting a wide range of stakeholders, including government, regulators and policymakers to better understand the various dimensions of industrial development in countries and around the globe using the platform’s unique Data Explorer. UNIDO offers in-situ capacity building on the tool whilst efforts are ongoing to develop eLearning material on the Platform.


6. In the lead up to the 2023 HLPF to be held under the auspices of the General Assembly (or 2023 SDG Summit), please provide your organization’s recommendations on how to overcome challenges to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the achievement of the SDGs, taking into account the thematic reviews and voluntary national reviews conducted to date.

• Enhancing efforts towards a green recovery - Economic stimulus packages should continue to be designed to enable green investments, promote economic revitalization, create new skilled green jobs, and put resilient infrastructure, in line with inclusive and sustainable industrial development (ISID) principles and taking into account the pivotal role of women and youth as agents of change.

• Enabling sound policy choices for resilient and sustainable recovery - For policymakers, building back better does not have to be a choice between economic recovery and sustainability. Sound policy choices should focus on sustainable energy investments, promoting economic revitalization, creating new skilled jobs, and putting clean infrastructure and circular economy models in place at the same time. It is important to enhance policy frameworks towards ISID to bend the global GHG emissions curve, increase industry’s resilience to adverse climate change impacts, halt the accelerating biodiversity loss caused inter alia by unsustainable consumption and production patterns and ensure the social and economic inclusion for all. Also, international cooperation is a key enabler of sound policies, including through the exchange of knowledge, best practices and capacity-building, and transfer of technology, particularly clean and innovative technologies from developed to developing countries on mutually agreed terms.

• Raising global climate change ambition - The integration of climate change ambition, with economic recovery plans can create a powerful response to crisis, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. In this context, Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement can be used as a framework for green investments through economic recovery packages. Updated NDCs should evidence a growing ambition with targets of additional emission commitments aiming for climate neutrality. They could also contain measures to develop national green finance markets along with sustainable and low greenhouse gas emissions development plans and arrangements to facilitate finance and technology transfer to developing countries, on mutually agreed terms.

• Strengthening science, technology and innovation - Science, technology and innovation policies should contribute to fostering post-pandemic recovery in the medium to long term by enabling economic diversification and repositioning of global value chains through circular economy approaches that promote the efficiency of the use of resources and maximize the added value of materials. Private sector companies in developing countries, especially micro, small and medium enterprises, should be supported to adopt new technologies through various means, such as virtual collaboration platforms, innovation-friendly business policies, capacity-building initiatives and enhanced access to finance. • Shaping the workforce of the future of manufacturing - Digital skills and the upskilling of the workforce need to be boosted, particularly in developing countries. Given that many labour-intensive industries may be subject to automation in the coming decades, it is essential to equip women and men with the skills they need for the future of manufacturing. An integrated package of upskilling initiatives should include technical and vocational training, open-source learning platforms, factory labs and enhanced remote learning options. • Establishing the evidence base and data collection - It is crucial to provide consistent, comparable and timely data and statistics at a level of granularity that allows to monitor impacts of the ongoing pandemic and future crises on different sectors and population groups. While much of this work needs to be done by national statistical systems, the international statistical community should develop shared practices, common responses and guidelines based on lessons learned.

ECESA Plus Member
Year of submission: 2021