Gerd Müller, Germany’s acting Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, is set to take office as the new Director General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).
Müller’s appointment for a four-year term was confirmed Wednesday, November 30 by the UNIDO General Conference held in Vienna. Müller will succeed Li Yong, who has led the United Nations’ specialized agency driving inclusive and sustainable industrial development since 2013.
During his two terms in office, Li led the Organization through an important transition as its Member States renewed UNIDO’s mandate with the adoption of the 2013 Lima Declaration. The 2013 Lima Declaration highlighted the concept and the vision of inclusive and sustainable industrial development, which was embedded in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development as SDG 9, “Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation”.
Li subsequently launched the Programme for Country Partnership, an innovative development model that builds synergies with ongoing government and partner interventions supporting industrial development and that leverages investment in selected priority sectors.
Müller has vowed to build on the successful work of his predecessor: “I want to thank Director General Li and the UNIDO staff for the successful work over the last eight years”. He wants to further strengthen UNIDO by creating a global platform for technology transfer, know-how and digitalization. The platform, he says, “can foster green skills and technologies, expand the use of renewable energies and open up fair access to global markets and value chains – in close collaboration with other UN agencies, governments, development banks, companies and investors.”
He wants UNIDO to play its part in the UN Common Agenda to help its Member States to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Paris Agreement on climate action, the Convention on Biological Diversityand the Beijing Declaration on Gender Equality.
Müller said, “We are currently facing global challenges that affect us all: climate change, the COVID-19 pandemic and increasing hunger. To fight inequality, to build back better and to promote a green recovery, we must work together and we must act now
He emphasized his aim is “to establish UNIDO as a leading multilateral player in fostering green, resilient, inclusive and sustainable industrial development through a renewed partnership between industrialized countries and developing countries. And with a stronger commitment from the industrialized countries
As Federal Minister, Müller strengthened the Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development by doubling the development cooperation budget to more than 12 billion euros and by creating special initiatives on “World without hunger”, “refugees and migration” and “training and jobs for the youth” – in cooperation with private corporations, especially in Africa (Compact with Africa, Marshall Plan with Africa
With Müller’s COVID-19 Emergency Programme of four billion euros, Germany mounted an immediate and comprehensive response to support least developed countries and middle-income countries in coping with the social, economic and health consequences of the pandemic.