Participants at the Asia Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development that is being hosted by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific in Bangkok, have stressed the importance of industrialization to the sustainability of economic activities and the advancement of social inclusion.
The participants, who pointed out that this has also been acknowledged by the proposed Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs, also discussed the role of inclusive and sustainable industrial development in the post-2015 development agenda at a side-event of the forum.
In a statement by United Nations Industrial Development, UNIDO, organisers of the event, said the discussion at the side-event brought together participants from Bangladesh, China, Thailand and Viet Nam, including representatives from the ministries of industry, academia and other international agencies.
It stated that Goal 9 focuses on building resilient infrastructure, inclusive and sustainable industrialization, and fostering innovation.
Some participants, however, pointed out that industrialization and the prosperity it has created has not yet benefitted all populations in Asia and the Pacific, and that industrialization in the region has come at an environmental cost.
They therefore agreed that, to eradicate poverty, reduce inequalities and share prosperity throughout societies, industries have to grow in an inclusive and sustainable manner.
Director General of the Department of Industrial Economy in the Development Research Center of China, Zhao Changwen, foresaw three challenges for China’s future industrialization: the need to move from lower to higher value-added products, the need to reduce overcapacity in certain industrial sectors caused by the 2009 stimulus package, and the need to balance further economic development with environmental sustainability and social inclusion.
Changwen believed that adopting the principles of inclusive and sustainable industrial development could help China to overcome these challenges.
Deputy Director General of the International Cooperation Department in the Ministry of Industry and Trade of Viet Nam, Do Phuong Dung, recognised that, as a lower middle-income country Viet Nam risks to get caught in the “Middle Income Trap” as it strives to grow its economy, but believed that the adoption of an inclusive and sustainable industrial development approach could help Viet Nam avoid this.
Senior Secretary, General Economics Division in the Ministry of Planning of Bangladesh, Shamsul Alam, noted that currently 40 per cent of the population is involved in agriculture, yet productivity is very low, with agriculture being responsible for only 16 per cent of GDP.
In contrast, 17 per cent of the workforce is currently in the industrial sector, yet generates 27 per cent of GDP.
With the objective of having 25 per cent of the workforce in industry by 2021 and the country attaining a middle-income country status, the principles of inclusive and sustainable industrial development could be used as an engine to reach these goals.
Participants also emphasized that achieving the proposed SDGs in a comprehensive way will allow the Asia and Pacific region to adopt models of economic growth that are sustainable, economically, socially, and environmentally, and that inclusive and sustainable industrialization is relevant to all the countries in the region.
The negotiations on the SDGs are scheduled to be completed before the UN Heads of State Summit on the post-2015 development agenda takes place at a plenary meeting of the General Assembly in New York from 25 to 27 September.

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