Commonwealth Secretariat and UNIDO forge new partnership for sustainable industrial development

04 June 2024
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The Commonwealth Secretariat and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) have signed a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to strengthen their partnership in promoting inclusive and sustainable industrial development.

This agreement marks a milestone in the long-standing collaboration between the two organisations, originally established with an MoU signed on June 21, 1979.

The new MoU aims to enhance the economic growth and development of Commonwealth countries and the broader global south by leveraging the combined expertise and resources of the Commonwealth Secretariat and UNIDO. This partnership is poised to create jobs, reduce poverty, and advance progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set for 2030.

After signing the MoU, Commonwealth Secretary-General Rt Hon Patricia Scotland KC said:

"We are thrilled to renew and deepen our collaboration with UNIDO. In today’s era of dynamic industrial policies, our partnership is essential for supporting the economic aspirations of our member countries, especially the Least Developed Countries (LDCs), Small Island Developing States (SIDS), and small states recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic."

While developed nations leverage advanced economic tools such as subsidies, tax incentives, and green initiatives, many developing countries, particularly within the Commonwealth, face significant challenges competing in this industrial policy landscape. The new MoU with UNIDO is designed to address these disparities by providing critical support in technical and capacity-building areas, promoting South-South and triangular cooperation, and harnessing the potential of the blue economy.

The partnership is especially timely as it took place last week during the fourth Conference of the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in Antigua and Barbuda. This MoU also aims to tackle the unique structural challenges faced by SIDS, including climate-related vulnerabilities, and to enhance their food and energy security and economic stability through diversified services and access to climate mitigation and adaptation technologies.

This collaboration also comes at a pivotal moment as the world enters the fourth industrial revolution, characterised by the integration of advanced technologies such as AI, smart manufacturing, and cloud computing. The Commonwealth Secretariat is committed to assisting member countries in their digital and green transitions, ensuring access to affordable technologies, investment promotion, knowledge and technology transfer.

The Secretary-General expressed her enthusiasm about the potential of this partnership to promote 'Made in the Commonwealth' goods and services, to help strengthen sustainable supply chains and foster emerging market development.

“I want to leverage this MoU to promote ‘Made in the Commonwealth’ as a mark of quality and innovation. This valued collaboration with UNIDO will amplify our efforts to support our member states in achieving their industrial and economic goals.” she said.

Media contact

  • Rena Gashumba  Communications Adviser, Communications Division, Commonwealth Secretariat
  • T: +44 7483 919 968  |  E-mail