Committee Overview

The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) plays a key role in the UN’s global development efforts. At its biennial General Conference, the 170 Member States collectively decide the policy priorities of the organization. While initially focused on creating and advancing industry, the 2013 Lima Declaration expanded the organization’s mandate to include “inclusive and sustainable industrial development.” This mandate contributed to the creation of SDG 9—“Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation.” However, the organization’s full scope spans many of the SDGs, as it also works on four additional priorities: “creating shared prosperity, advancing economic competitiveness, safeguarding the environment, and strengthening knowledge and institutions.” In addition to setting policy priorities, the organization also facilitates technical cooperation between states, providing direct support for establishing new industries and good jobs. 

Topic A: Improving Labor Standards in the Global Economy

80 percent of global trade is linked to large corporations, representing about USD 20 trillion of economic activity. Unfortunately, at the root of this vast global trade is a reliance on cheap labor—including child labor in some countries—with long working hours. The labor laws and standards that are supposed to protect against this are sadly not present in all countries. As corporations look for new ways to cut costs, they often move their operations to these countries, a process called offshoring. As countries compete for business, this has created a world in which governments are incentivized to cut or eliminate labor laws. The past decade has witnessed an overall decline in global labor standards. As the foremost organization regarding global development, it is critical for UNIDO to address this issue to protect workers around the. Delegates will explore the impact of international labor and trade agreements and the types of labor protections that are most at risk. They will also need to understand how businesses make economic decisions in a global economy. The world is at a crossroads, and it is absolutely critical to ensure that workers have the opportunity to receive fair wages and live healthy, productive lives.

Topic B: Sustainable Manufacturing and Waste Management

Over the past five years, the impact of industry on the environment has become an increasingly important issue. The overall effects of ever-increasing greenhouse gas emissions, rampant waste in landfills and oceans, and the release of dangerous pollutants are felt around the world. Industry is one of the largest emitters of greenhouse gasses globally—energy used in manufacturing is responsible for about 24 percent of global emissions. UNIDO has a clear need to promote the transition to a global circular economy, where resources are used more efficiently, waste is minimized, and materials are recycled and reused. A circular economy would help alleviate many issues we currently face. Many products are only intended to be used once, and a majority of human waste is not recyclable. A circular economy would ensure that a majority of products are developed with multiple consumers in mind and recycling focused. By promoting these principles, UNIDO can help address a major source of environmental threats and help achieve several Sustainable Development Goals that are at risk. Inclusive, sustainable development is a critical priority to ensure that people have a healthy and sustainable world to look forward to.