United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) has given 17 sustainability development goals (SDGs) whereas focusing primarily on goal 9 that industry, innovation and infrastructure which helps in promoting trade, standards, quality and investment. This idea further leads to inclusive and sustainable industrial development which encapsulates shared prosperity, economic competitiveness and safeguarding the environment. Shared prosperity promotes the idea of inclusive growth with equal opportunities for all people, via partnerships with all relevant stakeholders. In contrast, economic competitiveness supports the industrial growth, increased trade and technological progress, via modern industrial policies. Now, to remain sustainable which is important for future survival safeguarding the environment is of utmost need. Environmentally sustainable growth via cleaner industrial technologies and production methods is new way to address the issue.
By having industry, innovation and infrastructure there will be trade and development. Now, trade promotes economic growth, alleviates poverty and help countries reach their development goals. In addition, trade facilitation including implementation of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) trade facilitation agreement as well as tackling other policy and infrastructure barriers to goods and services trade are critical to growth and poverty reduction. But, if there is proper interconnection being developed by industrial clusters then innovation trade patterns could be channelised and emerging and developing economies like Pakistan can greatly benefit from it.
Now, to have industry innovation and infrastructure there is need of investment as well. Investment needs to be scaled up significantly in the coming years to contribute to the 2030 agenda. Moreover, SDGs explicitly call for quality and responsible investment to optimise contribution to economic development. Although several challenges persist in attracting inclusive and sustainable investment thus private investment act as a complement to public investment which is yet again a powerful development enabler for developing economies.
UNIDO has applied unique approach to address the goal which pertains to quality infrastructure to conform the investment and technology promotion offices to compete with innovation through e-commerce connection and support the idea of cross-border cooperation. Quality infrastructure refers to standards and quality for market access it requires consumer’s awareness and capacity building, enterprises upgrading and value chain development, quality infrastructure services through quality through quality promotion, conformity assessment, accreditation, mutual recognition and calibration verification tools. Moreover, quality infrastructure is also required at end of institutions for standardisation and accreditation. Likewise, regulatory framework and quality policy is essential at end of governance. If this is executed it will help in building stronger confidence for cross border trade and cooperation
Trade facilitation is also needed for improved cross-border trade what is needed are better quality products, which have been tested, inspected and certified before cross bordering to build the strong quality trade confidence. The key to success is creation of demand-driven quality infrastructure for sustainability. Demand refers to quality culture and supply is quality infrastructure there amalgamation equates the sustainability and generation of cross border trade.
Besides this, there can be different types of investment to support the goal it includes traditional investment, quality investment and impact investment. Traditional investment generates financial return which incorporates both direct and indirect investment. Quality investment as explained earlier requires strategically direct investments towards target areas with high growth potential and creating virtuous linkages with the local industry. The impact investment generates social and environmental impact alongside a financial return, can also be philanthropic in nature not aiming at financial return is very common tool by developed world to be applied in developing economies. It all leads to blend of social and financial value.
Impact investment addresses the most pressing challenges for both basic services and important sectors. It accounts for 1% of FDI flows (USD 1.53 trillion) which is growing around 20% yearly. It further helps in finding new types of investors like banks, pension funds, financial advisors, government and development finance institution and individual investors that turn to impact investment which are financially sound and can be helpful in contributing and attaining to SDGs. There are ten investment and technology promotion offices worldwide promoting two-way investment for achieving the SDGs.
The 4th industrial revolution commonly referred to as Industry 4.0 is changing the trade and investments patterns worldwide. In 18th century there was mechanisation which produced steam and water power later in 19th century there was mass production and electrification conveyor. In 20th century there was automation and today there is game changer by cyber physical systems and creation of idea internet of things. This transition explained how economies of scope translated into economies of scale and transformation towards individual production. It further strengthens that E-commerce as a driver for trade. E-commerce is playing an increasingly important role in promoting trade growth, industry transformation and job creation, as well as enabling developing countries and SMEs to better participate in and benefit from global value chains. E-commerce also brings overall strategic opportunities for the economic and social development for BRICs countries and evolving need for related policy discussions which aim at reducing trade costs in cross border e-commerce. Therefore, e-commerce unleashes opportunities for SMEs to participate in international trade and facilities SMEs to access information for cross-border investment.
UNIDO has taken several steps for sustainable development it includes Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Inclusive and Sustainable Industrial Development and Sustainable Development Goals. BRI supports the regional development initiative that promotes win-win cooperation, common development, prosperity, peace and cooperation, openness, inclusiveness and mutual understanding. In 2016, the UN General Assembly showed its support for BRI by recognising its importance as a vehicle for regional cooperation, in particular its role in facilitating regional connectivity, trade and transit. In addition, UNIDO’s inclusive and sustainable industrial development mandate promotes shared prosperity, economic competitiveness and environment sustainability. Moreover, SDGs developing quality, reliable, sustainable and resilient infrastructure to support economic development and human well-being it all leads to driving economic transformation.
Programme for Country Partnership (PCP), is a new initiative which optimise investment, boosting trade and enhancing market access with main objectives to accelerate the momentum of industrialisation, create more development impact and assert the relevance of UNIDO as an influential agent of change for industrialisation. This program is led by the host government at the highest political level. The PCP leverages large-scale public and private investment for industrial development, infrastructure and innovation by targeting prioritised sectors and areas aligned with the national industrialisation strategy. The PCP creates synergy with partner interventions like UN agencies development partners, financial institutions and the business sector. PCP impact and partnerships includes UNIDO technical cooperation stand-alone and expanding bi-lateral trade by maximising impact through mobilising investment.
In order to conclude, Pakistan should focus on UNIDO’s role within the PCP. As PCP facilitates the conveying of partners and the overall coordination which designs and develops a holistic program aimed at up-scaling development results and building synergies with partner interventions in the country which provides normative, policy and advisory services to the government on industry-related issues aim at delivering integration and multi-disciplinary technical assistance. Therefore, supports the government in mobilising large-scale industrial investments from public and private partners.