The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and NGOs constitute a complementary and powerful force aiming at their achievement of their common objectives in promoting and assisting industrialization. The contribution of industrial and business associations and chambers of commerce and cooperatives to industrial development are equally important as the contribution of development NGOs, technical and professional associations such as AALEP, trade and consumer unions, public interest groups, research and development institutions, foundations and universities. Strengthened collaboration with NGOs can thus provide the opportunity to overcome all constraints in development assistance and facilitate the change towards a more people-centred and self-reliant approach to industrial development.

Cooperative and innovative approaches between the public and private sector are key factors among the answers to the formidable recent changes in the world economy and their implications for industrial development. The trend of civil society's increasing importance in the development process is the response to peoples growing aspirations for enhanced participation and of the fundamental changes in the political, economic and social environment of developing countries and countries with economies in transition.

The democratization process in these countries has been accompanied by state disengagement, price and trade liberalization and privatization, thus leading to a shift away from the public sector towards the private sector. While private sector-led development, deregulation of many economies and liberalization of trade and investment flows have been set in motion and have brought significant increases in global production, other facts such as increasing development disparities, growing unemployment and widespread poverty still remain. A large number of developing countries, especially African, have not yet been able to reap the benefits of integration into the global economy, and industrial development for them is still far from being a self-sustainable process. International support continues to be critically required if the two essential ingredients of sustainable development are to be realized, namely social sustainability-through employment creation and poverty alleviation-and environmental sustainability.

In the light of these developments, the relationships between multilateral organizations, governments and NGOs are undergoing profound change and the need to increase partnerships in a more participatory, decentralized; complementary and non-dominating way is undeniable. Focus on specific issues, strong commitments and flexible arrangements enable NGOs to transcend national boundaries to establish strategic alliances with groups and individuals. Mechanisms aimed at creating further opportunities to enter into and support policy dialogue between intergovernmental organizations, such as UNIDO and Member States and NGOs, need to be further strengthened through regular and substantive exchange of views and enhanced networking.

NGO involvement in UNIDO programmes and projects at the country level ensures a full coherent and realistic understanding and appreciation of the problems related to industrial development and it allows UNIDO to respond more adequately to client needs and to specific situations. This participatory approach is achieved through the promotion of partnerships and subcontracting arrangements, the implementation of projects concentrating on capacity-building for NGOs and training prorammes. Networking with NGOs also help to generate a broad-based participation of people and high level of awareness on sustainable development issues at the country level.

The private sector is a fundamental player in industrial development, including the promotion of micro, small-and medium-sized industries (SMIs). NGOs, especially small industry and business associations, play an important role in SMI development by organizing joint services and providing facilities by improving access to services in areas of management, marketing, technology, training and finance, and by representing SMI's interest in policy and regulatory matters.

Institutional capacities need to be created, such as regulatory measures in the environmental field and industrial areas relating to technology, and industry-specfic training in the case of human resources development. Especially in developing countries with private sectors lacking an effective institutional framework and large informal industrial economies, building capacity within NGOs is an area of priority for international and national partnerships. NGOs contributions are increasingly recognized, but parallely expected to provide high quality, reliability and accountability while being more solution-oriented. The successful implementation of jointly developed activities between UNIDO and NGOs- in objectively verifiable terms- has also become the basis for further cooperation and the mobilization of resources. In this context greater involvement of NGOs in developing, implementing and evaluating industrial policies, programmes and projects appears essential.


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