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Abu Dhabi Declaration marks a new era for global private sector alliances

The United Arab Emirates makes history with today’s announcement of the Abu Dhabi Declaration, a groundbreaking outcome from the 18th Session of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization,UNIDO, General Conference. In an unprecedented move, UNIDO’s Member States, who had gathered in Abu Dhabi for the General Conference, have agreed to join forces in calling on the global private sector to form a coalition to advance Inclusive and Sustainable Industrial Development. This first-of-its-kind agenda will address the pressing need for a global alliance made up of organisations from the private sector to focus on working towards a shared vision for global prosperity.

UNIDO Member States has adopted the Abu Dhabi Declaration as part of UNIDO’s mandate to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal 9 which aims to ‘build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation’. The governments of all the member countries will now work in tandem with their private sectors and across borders to enhance public-private partnerships and thereby advance inclusive economic growth and bolster sustainable development.

In a video message to the conference, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said: "UNIDO plays an important role in advancing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. I commend your focus on harnessing the potential of new technologies. Through your partnerships with governments and the private sector, you can help drive job creation, technology transfer, and investments. Your work also helps to combat the climate crisis by facilitating the transition to circular economies, low carbon growth, the greening of infrastructure and the reduction of industrial emissions."

Named after the capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the Abu Dhabi Declaration will set the roadmap to create a global alliance of private sector companies that will work towards a common vision of making industrialisation more inclusive, and sustainable. In calling for heightened collaboration and a shift away from private-sector competition, the landmark declaration aims to encourage the private sector to look beyond financial returns and to adopt a more holistic worldview championing sustainability and global prosperity.

The Abu Dhabi Declaration also builds on the UAE’s history of leveraging public-private partnerships as a conduit to building its national economy led by rapid development and industrialisation. It also exemplifies the country’s firm belief in global alliances to meet ambitious multi-region development goals.

The UAE has shown a huge commitment to the political, economic and cultural empowerment of women. This commitment is enshrined in institutions such as the UAE Gender Balance Council. Moreover, women are engaged in the political decision-making process across the UAE. They are also at the heart of business in the private sector, with over 23,000 business women in the country heading funds estimated at over US$ 12.5 billion.

The Abu Dhabi Declaration highlights the important role of spreading prosperity overseas in order to leave no country behind. The private sector is encouraged to progress with social and environmental objectives as well as financial spheres, with emphasis placed on a triple bottom line. In this regard, the UAE has a strong track record of being one of the world’s largest donors of development assistance in proportion to Gross National Income,GNI. Since its inception in 1971, the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development,ADFD, has disbursed billions of dollars to support projects in developing countries to help achieve inclusive and sustainable development and reduce poverty. Through Masdar, the UAE promotes the international sustainability agenda, investing in renewable energy, protecting oceans, and rewarding the most innovative solutions from all over the world every year through the Zayed Sustainability Prize.

H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation,MOFAIC, said: "The UAE has long advocated for alliances and partnerships to advance the march of progress and humanity. Now, we are calling for collaboration and co-operation on a global scale to take advantage of the opportunities technology and automation can bring, while working together to ensure that challenges are addressed."

The Abu Dhabi Declaration acknowledges the transformative and disruptive potential of new technologies associated with the Fourth Industrial Revolution, referencing the opportunities these deliver to advance inclusive economic growth, reduce inequalities and contribute to sustainable development, resilience, and human well-being. In particular, the Abu Dhabi Declaration explicitly calls for increased and stronger private sector co-operation to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

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