Unido: What Does Its Future Hold?

Li Yong, director-general of Unido
Li Yong, the new director-general of Unido as of June 28, 2013. He was a vice minister in China's finance ministry and replaced Kandeh Yumkella of Sierra Leone at the UN agency.

At the end of 2012, Britain withdrew its membership from the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, or Unido, the most recent of several major donor countries (including the United States and Canada) to do so. Although it has had strong support from many developing countries, Unido has for many years been regarded with skepticism by some donors. But just as it seemed to be launching itself again into new initiatives, the sudden loss of 9 percent of its core financing has plunged the organization into a new period of introspection. With a new director-general, Li Yong, having been appointed this year, what does the future hold?

Unido came into being in a rather different manner from other UN organizations. Standard-setting was one of the original rationales for many of them. For industrial standards, however, the International Organization of Standardization (ISO) was set up in 1946, independent from the UN system. It was not “brought into relation” with the UN partly because it comprised many nongovernmental interests from the beginning.

The UN proper was also called on to act as a conduit for the transfer of resources (including humanitarian) to developing countries. These funds are principally Unicef, the Office of the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), both created in the aftermath of World War II, and later the UN Development Program (UNDP), World Food Program (WFP), International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the UN Population Fund (UNFPA). Other UN organizations were created in response to development concerns with necessarily global dimensions.

The rationale for the UN Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad, 1964) was the inequitable global trading conditions and the chronic decline in terms of trade between the global North and global South. The UN Environment Program (UNEP, 1972) was created in recognition of the global dimensions of environmental stress and the need for global solutions.

To continue reading the briefing, published by FUNDS, a research project of the City University of New York’s Ralph Bunche Institute for International Studies, click here.

Related Articles

America and the West Should Invest More in the UN, Not Less

The G20 vs. the UN Development System: Two Rivals Heat Up

Increased Private Financing to the UN Poses Benefits and Risks

Can the UN Regional Commissions Survive?


 

 

How Bad Is It? The UN Development System Needs an Overhaul

 

Don’t Miss a Story: Subscribe to PassBlue

Sign up to get the smartest news on the UN by email, joining readers across the globe.

We respect your privacy and take protecting it seriously

2 thoughts on “Unido: What Does Its Future Hold?”

  1. UNIDO is, or was, an organization that had many successes in the field or industrial development.However, as with other UN Agencies, it fell into the trap of funding projects and programs in countries where there was endemic corruption. Aid funds and what they bought were (and are) grist for the corruption mill. UNIDO with IAEA and others is based in the Vienna International Centre (VIC) with statistics on the VIC being “The VIC comprises about 4,500 offices and 9 conference rooms and accommodates about 3,600 international civil servants from more than 100 countries. The Y-shaped office towers are between 48 meters and 120 meters high” It could benefit from filtering its activities to exclude countries which have endemic corruption and extremely poor governance – including poor human rights records. This would give it the opportunity to be more successful. As we know, success brings in funding.

  2. UNIDO is, or was, an organization that had many successes in the field or industrial development.However, as with other UN Agencies, it fell into the trap of funding projects and programs in countries where there was endemic corruption. Aid funds and what they bought were (and are) grist for the corruption mill. UNIDO with IAEA and others is based in the Vienna International Centre (VIC) with statistics on the VIC being “The VIC comprises about 4,500 offices and 9 conference rooms and accommodates about 3,600 international civil servants from more than 100 countries. The Y-shaped office towers are between 48 meters and 120 meters high” It could benefit from filtering its activities to exclude countries which have endemic corruption and extremely poor governance – including poor human rights records. This would give it the opportunity to be more successful. As we know, success brings in funding.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Support nonprofit journalism →
Left Menu Icon

Sign up to get the smartest news on the UN by email, joining readers across the globe.

We respect your privacy and take protecting it seriously

Don’t Miss a Story:

Subscribe to PassBlue