UNIDO and Information and Communications Technology

The topics before the UNIDO are “The role of ICT in Industrial Development” and “Promoting Sustainable Production and Consumption”. UNIDO is a specialist agency of the UN that encourages industrial development. In order to combat poverty and support comprehensive globalization and sustainability of the environment. Therefore, Iraq is inclined to adapt ICT into its industries and targets for sustainable production and consumption – in order to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

I. The Role of ICT in Industrial Development

Information and Communications Technology (ICT) refers to technologies that are used for collecting, storing, editing and communicating information in various ways/ forms. Establishing an applicable and sustainable ICT industry can be achieved by joint efforts of the governments, international community, business sector and civil society and international cooperation / collaboration will help developing countries seize the benefits of ICT and use them to accelerate and advance their economic developments as they work towards achieving the SDGs and adapting sustainability in their different environments.

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 assisted in training 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) UNIDO 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).

Since, Technology entrepreneurship can reduce Iraq’s dependency on the oil sector, which renders 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. In addition to that, Iraq would also be able to accomplish Goal 17 that aims for partnerships for the goals through the Iraq requests UNIDO to aid in digitalizing their goods in order to increase the country’s income and build trade relationships that will result into a more advanced international community being formed.

II. Promoting Sustainable Production and Consumption

According to the UN data 2019: "Sustainable production and consumption are relative to 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, due to the UNIDO’s interconnected nature with the SDGs that constitute the core of the 2030 agenda; 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 (UNIDO, 2019). 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.

Nevertheless, sustainability is as such that it can always be enhanced, for,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 of reduced taxes is to be provided so ozone layer depletion is tackled, and that will ultimately help in waste management issues.