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Can industrialisation set the clock back and accelerate sustainable development?

Cairo, Egypt

While studies show that climate change and industrial revolutions are tightly linked, experts believe that the nature of today’s industrialisation can be an opportunity to accelerate sustainable development.
Last month, the ESCWA Technology Centre (ETC) co-organized the Arab International Industrial Conference under the theme "Steps towards sustainable innovative development" to identify the role of industrialisation in accelerating sustainable development in the Arab world.
In Cairo, Egypt, between 6 and 8 May, discussions revolved around key economic, environmental and industrial obstacles that hinder the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and more particularly around the role of industrialisation in tackling poverty, changing patterns of production and consumption, and preserving natural resources in Arab countries.
The ETC Executive Director, Reem Al-Najdawi, noted the enormous challenges facing the paths to development and called for intensified efforts to achieve sustainable development in the Arab region.
During a workshop organised by ETC on the side-lines of the conference, participants discussed potential solutions to secure funds for scientific research especially in the areas of energy, water, and food. They also highlighted the need to bridge the gap between industry, scientific research and the private sector, and agreed to work towards integrating sustainable development goals into industrial programs, plans and strategies in the Arab countries.
The Egyptian Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, Khalid Abdul Ghaffar, emphasized the importance of linking scientific research with industries, and creating effective partnerships.
For his part, the General Director of the Arab Organization for Industrial Development and Mining (AIDMO), Adel Al-Saqer, underscored that cooperation is the ultimate objective among Arab countries through expertise sharing and providing technical support on many projects, such as the Arab industrial Atlas projects and the food safety project.
Around 450 participants from 14 Arab countries took part in the conference, representing the public and private sectors, Arab regional and international organizations, and academic and research institutes from Jordan, Tunisia, Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Oman, Palestine, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Egypt, Morocco, Mauritania and Yemen.
The conference was organised under the Patronage of the Egyptian Minister, Mr. Ghaffar, in cooperation with AIDMO, the National Centre for Egyptian Research (NCE), the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), and ETC.