03. December 2013

Fifteenth Session of the UNIDO General Conference, South Africa’s National Statement

Madame President
Distinguished Delegates
Ladies and Gentlemen

On behalf of my delegation I would like to congratulate you, Madame President, together with the members of your bureau, on your appointment. South Africa has full confidence in your ability to steer the deliberations of this General Conference towards fruitful outcomes. The adoption of the Lima Declaration yesterday, bears testament to this. We congratulate you and in particular the host country Peru, on this achievement.

I offer the full support of my delegation to you and your team throughout the course of this Conference.

In October 2013, soon after his appointment as Director-General, South Africa was honoured to welcome the new Director-General of UNIDO, Mr Li Yong, to our country. This visit cemented the existing historical partnership between South Africa and UNIDO and we continue to proudly host its regional office for Southern Africa. We are looking forward to a continued close cooperation with UNIDO, to be the trusted, efficient and reliable development partner.

South Africa associates itself with the statements of the African Group, delivered by the Permanent Representative of the Republic of Kenya and that of the Group of 77+China delivered by the Permanent Representative of the Republic of Sudan.

The ongoing global economic and financial difficulties as well as the prudent global growth forecasts in key economies, continue to impact negatively on the gains made by developing countries, endeavouring to place their economies on a sustainable development trajectory.

We all need to join hand to explore new approaches to lift the global economy out of the current position. In this regard, Madame President, it is my delegation’s view that UNIDO needs to be at the forefront of global efforts to harness industry to return the global economy to a strong and sustained growth path. The theme of this General Conference, therefore, is quite apt and resonates with this thinking.

Madame President,

South Africa considers its development as inextricably linked to that of the rest of the African continent, and wishes to acknowledge the support provided by UNIDO with the on-going efforts to establish and promote her industrial development.

Africa as a continent whose economic structure and growth is mostly commodity based, has an urgent need to foster a development trajectory based on adding value to its agricultural produce and minerals. Similarly Africa, through the Conference of African Minsters of Industry, has prioritized production of renewable energy equipment and technologies as part of its contribution towards facilitating access to clean and renewable energy for productive use. South Africa acknowledges UNIDO’s partnership with the Conference of African Ministers of Industry (CAMI) and calls for the Organisation’s continued support in contributing to the economic integration of the African continent.

The said Conference that took place in Kenya in June 2013, also deliberated on Africa’s industrial development within the Post-2015 Development Agenda, and highlighted Africa’s industrialization as a key factor for the development processes in the continent. UNIDO is uniquely placed within the UN system to assist in this regard as the agency responsible for promotion and acceleration of industrial development and international industrial cooperation. This will require more robust engagements with UNIDO member countries to ensure that UNIDO programmes are aligned to the strategic priorities of recipient countries. We are also of the view that UNIDO should continue to strengthen its assistance to the continent’s regional economic integration agenda, particularly cooperation to develop productive capacity.

As the world prepares for the launch of the intergovernmental process on the Post-2015 development Agenda, South Africa welcomes UNIDO’s efforts in ensuring the integration o inclusive and sustainable industrial development into the new global development framework. In this regard South Africa is of the view that industrialization, and manufacturing in particular, has to be at the centre of the post-2015 development agenda. South Africa is also of the view that the three dimensions of sustainable development must be addressed in a balanced and integrated manner. Furthermore, the Rio Principles, in particular, Common but Differentiated Responsibilities, need to be firmly rooted in this framework given that countries have different starting points, national priorities and regional circumstances.

Madame President,

South Africa is committing all its efforts into growing the economy, creating decent jobs and building a more equitable and just society for South Africans. The fifth iteration of South Africa’s Industrial Policy Action Plan 2013/14-2015/16 has been released, with the goal to prevent industrial decline and to support the growth and diversification of South Africa’s manufacturing sector. The balance of international evidence is that manufacturing is the engine of growth and employment of all economies that have achieved high gross domestic product (GDP) and employment growth. We believe manufacturing can generate significant job creation directly as well as indirectly in a range of primary and service sector activities.

UNIDO’s cooperation with South Africa has been very effective, especially in terms of capacity building. My delegation acknowledges and appreciates this partnership, and further looks forward to working with the Organisation in strengthening the technological and innovation capabilities for South Africa.

Madame President,

My delegation welcomes the outcome of the work of the Informal Working Group on the future, including programmes and resources of UNIDO. South Africa looks forward to the adoption of the outcome document and supports its utilization as a primary source to steer UNIDO in a progressive direction.

In conclusion, South Africa trusts that this historic General Conference will lead to the revitalisation and strengthening of UNIDO as a critical partner for the promotion of inclusive and sustainable industrial development. South Africa further looks forward to continued fruitful partnerships with UNIDO and pledges its support for efforts by the organisation, particularly those in the African continent and for South-South Co-operation.

I thank you.

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