UNIDO IV Conference Adopts Proposals to Speed Industrial Development

Article excerpt

The Fourth General Conference of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) ended in Vienna on 20 August after the adoption of proposals designed to speed industrial development in the developing countries as an integral part of promoting a dynamic world economy.

the Conference's proposals, contained in 15 resolutions, dealt with such topics as the development of human resources, the strenghtening of scientific and technological capacities, and energy and industrialization. Other recommendations dealt with the domestic industrial processing of raw materials, rural development and self-sufficiency in food supplies, the least developed countries, economic co-operation among developing countries, and the Industrial Development Decade for Africa.

With regard to the Industrial Development Decade for Africa, the Conference appealed to the General Assembly to increase its annual allocation to UNIDO for assistance to African countries to $5 million.

The Conference was unable to reach agreement on two draft resolutions--one relating to world industrial restructuring and redeployment, and another on the mobilization of financial resources for industrial development. The texts were forwarded for consideration by the General Assembly.

In the introduction to its final report, the Conference noted the difficulties the developing countries had experienced resulting from such factors as inflation, declining investment, protectionism, growing unemployment, an increase in the prices of essential imports, a sharp fall in prices of their raw material exports, high interest rates, and stagnating official development assistance.

Peace, security, disarmament and co-operation are indispensable for the achievement of economic and social development, the introduction stated. The Conference called for an end to protectionism, reversal of net capital outflows from developing to developed countries, and reform of the international economic system to provide "a more just and equitable framework" for developing countries to pursue their industrialization policies.

The Conference reaffirmed the commitment of the international community to the Substantial New Programme of Action for the 1980s for the Least Developed Countries and the Industrial Development Decade for Africa, and urged all countries, international institutions and others concerned to implement fully their commitments.

Industrialization, the Conference said, should encourage the effective mobilization and optimal use of human and material resources, promote internal structural change and adopt positive adjustment policies, strengthen links with other sectors of the economy, particularly agriculture, and broaden links between the public and private sectors and between small, medium and large-scale industry.

The Conference reiterated the mandate of UNIDO now and after its conversion to a specialized agency for providing effective and sustained co-operation with the developing countries in their industrialization efforts and underlined the need to provide UNIDO with the necessary resources. It further called for increased contributions to the United Nations Industrial Development Fund, especially from the industrialized and developed countries, so as to reach its agreed desirable level of $50 million a year as soon as possible.

The introduction to the Conference's final report was adopted by a show-of-hands vote of 79 in favour to 1 against (United States), with 12 abstentions.

Explanations of Vote

Following the vote, the representative of Switzerland, speaking on behalf of the developed market-economy countries, said that group sought measures to promote industrial development within UNIDO's mandate, but felt that issues such as trade, finance and the world economic situation were better handled by organizations and conferences dedicated to those subjects.

The Soviet Union, speaking also on behalf of the Byelorussian SSR, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, the German Democratic Republic, Mongolia, Poland and the Ukrainian SSR said that the developed capitalist countries had tried to transfer to the developing countries the whole burden of the economic crisis. …