UNIDO and REEEP map out deeper cooperation on sustainable development

29-08-2014, Vienna, Austria

LI Yong, Director General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and Martin Hiller, Director General of the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP) met this week in Vienna to discuss intensifying the cooperation between the two organizations; the aim is to jointly promote sustainable pathways for developing countries to reduce poverty and develop their industrial base.

Besides sharing a common address (REEEP is hosted by UNIDO in Vienna), the two organisations share a common vision for the world: one characterised by inclusive social and economic development in harmony with nature. In the scope of their work, of course, UNIDO and REEEP are quite different – but it is precisely those differences that form the basis for intriguing collaborative possibilities.

UNIDO, in existence since 1966, is the UN agency to promote industrial development for poverty reduction, inclusive globalization and environmental sustainability, brought together in its objective of Inclusive and Sustainable Industrial Development (ISID). ISID is designed to “economically empower,” said UNIDO Director General LI Yong. “This is the only way to generate the income needed to enable individuals, households, and governments to pursue their own development priorities and to support their path to self-reliance.”

Mr Hiller echoed those sentiments, adding that “the low carbon technologies and business models to provide energy access in many cases already exist – it’s now a question of enabling local business to spread its wings and take advantage of them.” REEEP is an international non-profit organisation specialising in clean energy investments and market growth in developing countries. It focuses on supporting entrepreneurs and marketable clean energy solutions that can be scaled up and replicated.

The two organisations are now exploring how to translate the insights and knowledge gained through REEEP’s early-stage small and medium-sized enterprise (SME)-level action into long-term impact through UNIDO follow-up initiatives as part of ISID. The result could be a ground breaking new model for technology and knowledge transfer and development. An initial pilot project will focus on sustainable water resource and sanitation management for small cities.