The LDC-III Programme of Action (PoA) calls the initiatives to arrest the marginalization of LDCs an “ethical imperative”. It outlines a broad range of measures to be taken by the developed nations and the LDCs themselves in the form of a framework for partnership and seven specific commitments: (1) Fostering a people centered policy framework; (2) Good governance at the national and international levels; (3) Building human and institutional capacities; (4) Building productive capacities to make globalization work for the least developed countries; (5) Enhancing the role of trade and development; (6) Reducing vulnerability and protecting the environment and (7) Mobilizing financial Resources.
UNIDO’s contribution to the follow-up of LDC-III concentrated on commitments (4) and (5).
With respect to Building productive capacities and enhancing the role of trade, UNIDO’s large-scale programme, Enabling LDCs to participate in International Trade was formally presented at LDC III at the Thematic Session on International Trade, Commodities and (FfD) Services and further elaborated at the Financing for Development Conference at Monterrey. This initiative aims to facilitate LDC trade participation and enhance export competitiveness through the upgrading of quality and accreditation infrastructure and productive capacities, primarily in sectors of high export potential, such as food products, textiles and leather. A Trust Fund open to Donors’ contributions has been established by UNIDO in order to finance the implementation of this initiative.
UNIDO’s eight million Euros flagship Trade Facilitation/Market Access initiative, funded by the EU, covering the eight WAMEU/UEMOA (Union Economique et Monétaire Ouest Africaine) member states, (of which seven are LDCs: Benin, Burkina Faso, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo), is well under way.
A new UNIDO-WAMEU pilot programme on industrial restructuring and upgrading has been elaborated with a budget of
US$ 12 million and a duration of 5 years. It is expected that the EU will also fund this programme, which should enable hundreds of industrial enterprises of WAMEU countries to face international competition (as trade barriers are gradually being dismantled). This programme also aims at contributing to the regional integration process of UEMOA countries and is in line with the objectives and goals of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD).
A seminar in Abuja, Nigeria, 11-12 April 2002, hosted by the ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) Secretariat, finalized a UNIDO-ECOWAS Trade Facilitation/Market Access/Industrial Restructuring and Upgrading Programme for the seven (Cape Verde, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone) of its fifteen member states not covered by the UEMOA – EU Programme, six of which: Cape Verde, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone are LDCs. The ECOWAS Programme, which well reflects issues elaborated in the NEPAD Market Access initiative, will have a duration of five years and a budget in the vicinity of US$ 29 million. ECOWAS and UNIDO are actively seeking donor supports. The UEMOA and ECOWAS programmes together will cover 14 of the 34 African LDCs. Furthermore, a programme covering seven Southern African Development Community (SADC) LDCs (Angola, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania and Zambia) is under development.
Two programmes specifically dedicated to the development of small business in the agro-industries sector of the LDCs have also been initiated by UNIDO. The first concerns the development of Micro and Small Enterprises (MSE) of the informal sector in the field of fishery and agro-industry in the rural areas of Senegal. This programme is under implementation with a UNDP contribution of US$ 600,000 and has already raised the interest of donors, such as Austria, France and Luxemburg. It is expected that the programme will subsequently be replicated in other LDCs with dual economies, i.e. a small modern sector and a large informal sector. The latter requires modernization in order to enhance the ability of the MSE to conquer the local markets and to face international competition. The other programme aims at the reinforcement of institutional capacities of intermediary institutional organizations of civil society and private sector active in the agro-business sector. This programme will start on a pilot basis with five countries of West Africa, namely Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Mali and Senegal, and will later be gradually extended to other African LDCs. The initial budget for this programme is around US$ 6 million and contacts will soon be initiated with Donors to solicit funding.
Collaboration with other organizations has also played an important role in the follow-up action of LDC-III. UNIDO has regular and close contacts with the WTO. UNIDO participation in the WTO Committee on Trade and Development and the Committee on Technical Barriers to Trade as well as in the Sub-Committee for the LDCs.
UNIDO and UNCTAD will co-organize two regional workshops in Africa (East and West) in the framework of the Doha Development Agenda, in order to enhance the LDCs participation in global trade and create awareness on the implications of the forthcoming WTO negotiations. This joint UNIDO/UNCTAD programme will be realized thanks to a US$ 197.000 contribution from the Austrian Government.
UNIDO is a partner to the Multi-Agency Programme on Investment Promotion together with UNCTAD, FIAS and MIGA, which aims to increase the level of FDI flows into LDCs. The first phase has been initiated in four pilot countries, i.e. Tanzania, Uganda, Cambodia and Mozambique. Discussions have been pursued to also include UNIDO among the partners of the following joint trade-related programmes:
(i) The Integrated Framework (IF) for the provision of trade related technical assistance, including human and capacity building which is managed by WTO, UNCTAD, ITC, IMF, UNDP and the World Bank, and
(ii) The Joint Integrated Technical Assistance Programme (JITAP), an initiative between ITC, UNCTAD and WTO for the development opportunities of selected LDCs and other African Countries, through their more effective participation in the Multilateral Trading System (MTS).
Moreover, a UNIDO proposal to create a “one-stop” database on opportunities and requirements for market access for African developing countries, in particular LDCs, should reinforce the cooperation between UNIDO and the above-mentioned UN Agencies.
UNIDO’s commitments for the Promotion of sustainable energy systems arose from its second major initiative at the LDC-III, the chairing of the Thematic Session on Energy. This initiative has generated a wealth of projects and follow-up activities in the areas of rural energy supplies and industrial energy efficiency. Renewable energy projects promoting solar, wind, and bio-mass in rural areas, have been formulated in six countries (Bhutan, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Myanmar and Zambia), of which the programme in Zambia has already been approved for Global Environment Facility (GEF) funding.
The specific UNIDO Initiative on Rural Energy for Productive Use which seeks to respond to the challenge of severe under-supply of energy for the very poor, especially in rural and remote areas such as the Small Island Developing States, was presented to WSSD, and welcomed as a partner for the DFID initiative Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership and the European Union Energy Initiative for Poverty Eradication and Sustainable Development. In recognition of UNIDO’s comparative advantage in the field, the E-7, an association of 9 large utilities from the G-7 countries, expressed interest in concluding a letter of agreement with UNIDO, which was signed by the Director-General, Mr. Carlos Magariños, on 1 September 2002 in Johannesburg.
Another LDC-III energy “deliverable” is the UNIDO/UN Development Programme (UNDP) regional Multi-functional Platform Programme, which is a simple diesel engine that can power different tools, such as cereal mill, husker and/or battery charger. The engine can also generate electricity for lighting and refrigeration and for water pump. It offers rural women income-generating opportunities, management experience and, as they become more economically independent, an increase in their social status. The implementation of the programme is most advanced in Mali, the country where the platform concept was initially developed. It is expected that 450 multi-functional platforms will have been installed in Mali by the end of 2003, thus covering approximately 10% of the rural population. Some 60 platforms have also been installed in other countries (Burkina Faso, Guinea and Senegal). Mali, Burkina Faso and Benin have included the platform in their Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSP). UNIDO will also disseminate the platforms in Senegal, thanks to a US$ 600,000 contribution recently approved by UNDP. The programme has attracted a number of sponsors, Denmark and Sweden have already indicated their intention to give between US$ 4 and 5 million for a large-scale five-year programme of some US$ 10 million to start in the second half of 2003, covering 14 African countries, most of them LDCs employing the South-South cooperation approach. The multi-functional platform might also soon be included among the NEPAD programmes. In other respects UNDP in collaboration with UNIDO prepared a paper for WSSD Johannesburg, which presented the Multifunctional Platform as a model for creating opportunities for growth and empowerment of the poor.
Lastly, in addition to the above major activities which are directly related to the content and implementation of the LDC-III Plan of Action, the LDCs enjoyed a central place in UNIDO’s Business Plan and consequently in UNIDO’s Integrated Programmes. Out of a total of 47 programmes, 15 are currently under implementation within the LDCs: Burkina Faso, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Guinea, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Madagascar, Mali, Mozambique, Nepal, Rwanda, Senegal, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Yemen, 5 others are under formulation, namely Burundi, Djibouti, Lesotho, Niger and Togo.