UNIDO’s long-term strategy of inclusive and sustainable industrial development (ISID) was adopted by UNIDO Member States at the General Conference in December 2013. Through this strategy, UNIDO aim to harness the full potential of industry’s contribution to the achievement of sustainable development in the post-2015 era.
Industry is the most dynamic driver of prosperity and collective wellbeing. Too often in the past the transformative structural changes have also been accompanied by environmental degradation and increased social inequalities. In order to ensure equitable distribution of the economic benefits of industrialization, ISID aims to address the multidimensional causes of poverty, through creating shared prosperity, advancing economic competitiveness and safeguarding the environment.
· Every country achieves a higher level of industrialization in their economies, and benefits from the globalization of markets for industrial goods and services.
· No-one is left behind in benefiting from industrial growth, and prosperity is shared between women and men, urban and rural communities and enterprises in all countries.
· Economic and social growth is supported within an environmentally sustainable framework, so industrial expansion does not jeopardize the well-being of future generations.
· The unique knowledge and resources of all relevant development actors are combined, including the private sector and international financing instituions, to maximize ISID’s development impact.
THE REGIONAL CONTEXT:
The Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) Region encompasses 33 countries, all of which are UNIDO Member States. Total population for the region was roughly 600 million people in 2014, most of whom were already benefitting from improved living conditions. For example, more than 94% of the total population had access to improved drinking water sources; 82% had sanitation services coverage; and 79% lived in urban areas. But there is room for future improvement, as seen in the smaller percentages of the population that had access to potable water (82%) and sanitation in rural areas (63%) in 2014.
The region comprises a total surface area of more than 20 million km2 with vast natural resources, including ample water resources and a flourishing biodiversity. Around 47% of the land surface is covered by forest. The Central and South American sub-regions provide the most abundant fresh water resources per capita worldwide. The region accounts for substantial reserves of oil, silver, copper, coal, bauxite, lithium and nickel.
LAC’s Member States range from large, rapidly growing High- and Middle-Income Countries (MICs) like Brazil, Mexico and Argentina to small, fragile and vulnerable states like Haiti.
The GDP of the LAC Region grew by 1.1% in 2014, its slowest annual expansion rate since 2009, mostly attributable to the region’s high dependence on commodities export prices. Current GDP structure by economic activity is comprised mainly of public administration, social and personal services (24%); financial intermediation, including real state, rentals and business activities (17%); wholesale and retail trade (15%); manufacturing (15%); transport, communications and construction (15%); and mining, agriculture and electricity (14%).
One significant consequence of low economic growth has been weak job creation; however, the urban open unemployment rate edged down only from 6.2% to 6.0%. The slower job creation has affected women more than men, bringing an end to previous trends in which some gender labour gaps were narrowing.
The poverty rate in Latin America stood at 28.1% in 2013, 11.7% of whom were living under conditions of extreme poverty. In human terms, these percentages represent 165 million poor people, including 69 million living in extreme poverty (e.g. on the equivalent of less than one dollar a day) (ECLAC- Preliminary Overview of Economies of LAC, 2014). For the LAC Region, the incidence is higher among younger segments of the population. Poverty rates also vary by gender, the rate among women under labour age being 1.2 times that of men.
The LAC Region has the highest inequality rate in the world. The Gini coefficient, which measures income inequality, remained at a mean value of 0.52 (i.e. it ranges between 0, total equality, and 1, one person with all the wealth.
In terms of industrial development, the region needs to develop comprehensive industrial policies that promote more equitable growth based on productive development and reduce the weight of financial sector; to strengthen Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) and policy instruments for promoting new business and fostering Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs), as well as to increase investment in research, development and innovation to generate greater value added and increase competitiveness.
UNIDO works closely with the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), the largest regional bloc representing 33 sovereign countries in the Americas, all of which are also UNIDO Member States.
The 33 countries that comprise UNIDO’s Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) Region, as diverse as they may be, all share one thing in common: they all need vital strategic advice on industrial development strategies, policies and instruments, followed by concrete support for implementation and monitoring. Some of these countries are newly emerging Middle Income Countries (MICs) that require more than a classic Technical Assistance (TA) project approach, although a transition phase of several years when both approaches co-exist is to be expected. UNIDO is engaged in promoting practical, pragmatic implementation of the guiding principles of inclusive and sustainable industrial development in the region. ISID’s new Vision, as introduced at the outset of this brochure, is being incorporated into all UNIDO activities carried out in the region.