Fostering inclusive and sustainable industrial development in middle-income countries, MICs in Europe and Central Asia through innovation and technology was the focus of an international conference that opened Thursday in Minsk, the capital of Belarus.
The two-day event is co-organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, UNIDO, and the United Nations Development Programme, UNDP.
A statement by UNIDO said, the conference brings together high-level government officials and policy-makers, private sector stakeholders, representatives of international organizations, academia and development financial institutions, as well as experts in the field.
Director General of UNIDO, LI Yong said; “This event will serve as a platform for fruitful discussions on how MICs in Europe and Central Asia can foster inclusive and sustainable development in an age of intensified globalisation and inter-dependencies, rapid technical progress, climate and demographic changes, and on identifying which instruments can be most effective in addressing MICs’ specific challenges”.
“To achieve inclusive and sustainable economic development, MICs have to explore the full potential of inclusive and sustainable industrialization. MICs have to promote industrial diversification and structural transformation.
“They have to strengthen their productive and institutional capacities, modernise industry, and support SME entrepreneurship and investment in technological learning, innovation and development”, he stressed.
Yong added that donors and international development organizations, such as UNIDO, need to rethink their engagement with MICs, shifting from an assistance paradigm to a greater focus on cooperation and partnerships with various stakeholders.
“The UN can broker and create knowledge-sharing platforms to pool and share resources and the accumulated knowledge of high-income and middle-income countries”, the director general said.
UNIDO stated that the conference outcome is expected to contribute to the Post-2015 development agenda and the International Conference on Financing for Development taking place in July.

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