The topics before the UNIDO are “The role of ICT in Industrial Development” and “Promoting Sustainable Production and Consumption”. UNIDO is the specialized agency of the United Nations that promotes Industrial development for poverty reduction, inclusive globalization and sustainability of the environment. Therefore, Iraq is willing to adapt ICT into its industries and aims for sustainable production and consumption – in order to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
I. The Role of ICT in Industrial Development
In order to achieve that, Iraq reached out to the UNIDO for support in the implementation of ICTs in its industrial fields and, as always, UNIDO responded. In this case, by launching the “Enterprise Development through Information and Communication Technology” project (EDICT) with UTIU, an Italian university, in 2012. The project was directed at realizing distance education courses on issues related to Enterprise Development and Investment Promotion in Iraq by means of new ICT technologies. Precisely, the project envisaged capacity building of developing new business manufacturing units in the three Governorates of Baghdad, Erbil and Thi Qar- targeting Iraq’s challenge of the “digital skills gap, increasing the time and cost of launching a technology start up.” (Five One Labs, 2019)
The UTIU helped train counsellors selected by the UNIDO in the use of platform and web-based tools, enabling them to readily manage the requests of the future entrepreneurs and support them after the completion of the course. (EDICT, 2012) \nUNIDO has always worked towards providing the essentials requirements for facilitating industrial growth in developing countries. In the case of Iraq, UNIDO’s assistance is required in implementing and integrating ICT solutions for Technology startup incubators; that educate/ train the workforce, and introduce modern technology to the SMEs (Small and Medium enterprises).\nSince, Technology entrepreneurship can reduce Iraq’s dependency on the oil sector, which provides 85% government revenue-presently- and 80% of the foreign exchange earnings. (CIA World Factbook, 2019) As well as, encouraging an entrepreneurial spirit in technology and other sectors throughout the country. Not to mention, Iraq will also be able to achieve Goal 11 of the SDGs that aims at sustainable cities and communities.
II. Promoting Sustainable Production and Consumption
According to the UN data 2019: "Sustainable production and consumption are about promoting resource and energy efficiency, sustainable infrastructure, providing access to basic services, green and decent jobs and a better quality of life for all." Moreover, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that compose the core of the 2030 agenda for Sustainable Development and govern global, regional and national development programs for the next 15 years. UNIDO is fully committed to the realization of the set SDGs and due to the interconnected nature of the SDGs, many of UNIDO's activities contribute to more than one SDG at a time. (UNIDO, n.d.)
Due to Iraq's decades of war and subsequent sanctions, Iraq is suffering from economic instability and a weak economic infrastructure: however, with previous support from the UNIDO that aimed at helping in enterprise creation and access to finance and investment promotion that has been able to generate about 7 million USD investment, along with, 189 Iraqi SMEs (Small and Medium sized enterprises) been created and/ or expanded: that resulted into in the cumulative employment impact of 1040 jobs. As a consequence, these results were able to meet UNIDO's number 8 and 9 goals that aim for decent work, economic growth and growth of industry, innovation and infrastructure. (UNIDO, 2019)
Nevertheless, sustainability can always be enhanced, in this regard Iraq requests UNIDO to provide the youth with the knowledge of green choices such as Biofuels and the areas to cover are: its production, continuous supply and long-term sustainability of its use. Biofuel production can contribute to industrial development and help create jobs, including reducing the hydrocarbon dependency. As Pradeep Monga Director of UNIDO’s Energy and Climate Change stated in 2013 at a conference in Vienna, Austria, “UNIDO sees biofuels sustainability as an issue which needs to be better understood,”Hence, in accord with the UNIDO’s objectives Iraq requests on having implementation of biofuels as an alternative to oil in its industries. To reward businesses adopting the use of biofuels an incentive is to be provided with reduced taxes in order to tackle ozone layer depletion, which ultimately helps in waste management issues.