Industry still matters

OpEd by Ilija D. Mugoša United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), Europe and Central Asia Bureau, e-mail:
The quest for sustainable economic development is a topic that preoccupies the global economic releases since Adam Smith and his inquiry into the nature and causes of the Wealth of Nations, published in 1776. Measured by today's standard of living, at the beginning of the nineteenth century, all countries were poor. Economies are predominantly based on the primary sector (agriculture) and branches without high productivity growth.

The industrialization of the economy, manufacturing sector in particular, pulled out of poverty hundreds of millions of people worldwide. Those countries that have managed to achieve economic growth, based on the industry, are precisely those that are the most efficient in the reduction of poverty rate. Until that moment, labor and animal intensive (carts, plowing, hoeing) economies began to transform, automatize, and focus on the mechanical industrial production, achieving high growth rates. The growth rate of the world economy before the industrial revolution was about 0.5% per year and it was same for one millennium. The astonishing fact is that the world population in the first decade of the XXI century produced a higher output than in the first XIX centuries together. It was a precedent moment in the world history, for the first time every aspect of human life, starting from culture, population, production, and revenues have experienced a renaissance (stable and long-term growth). According to economic Nobel laureate Robert Lucas "For the first time in history, the standard masses of ordinary people began to grow sustainably... nothing like this has happened in economic history".

Yes, this development and growth has not been evenly distributed around the world, so there are still significant economic disparities between and within regions and countries. Even with the emergence of global phenomena of growth, some of the countries of South America, the Balkan part of Europe but especially in sub-Saharan Africa have not experienced an industrial boom. The most of developing countries then, but still, suffers from slow and anemic growth that leaves significant segments of the population back, mostly women and young people. Bearing this in mind and realizing that the current industrial models are not sufficiently inclusive and sustainable, the Member States of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) on the General Conference in Peru in December 2013, adopted Lima Declaration, according to which they agreed that inclusive and sustainable industrial development will become an important part of the global development agenda. With the vision of the importance of industry in the global development trends UNIDO has developed the concept of inclusive and sustainable industrial development, which is based on two main principles: the first is bound to create common prosperity for all, while the second focuses on the safeguarding the environment.

UNIDO’s work has contributed towards the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and Organization is fully supporting ongoing sustainable development agenda. As stated in the preamble of the resolution adopted by the General Assembly on 25 September 2015, sustainable development agenda is plan of action for people, planet and prosperity and UNIDOs mandate is Goal 9, INDUSTRY, INNOVATION & INFRASTRUCTURE which is a back bone for achievement of all other goals

UNIDO’s mandate echoes SDG9, but also aligns with all other development goals, including those related to poverty eradication, creating full and productive employment, protecting the environment, achieving gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls, etc.