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 / UNIDO / Industry 4.0

Did You Know?

Industry 4.0 promises improved methods of production and business models through new technologies, including automation, augmented reality, and the Internet of Things, which could accelerate the deployment of renewable energy in manufacturing, reduce carbon emissions, optimize energy use, and enhance productivity and save costs. This, in turn, could help tackle major global challenges such as climate change, the lack of access to clean energy, and so on. In a nutshell, it promotes the upgrading of industrial enterprises and supports their integration into national and global value chains through business linkages and sustainable sourcing.

Challenges associated with Industry 4.0

The high potential of Industry 4.0 for transforming industrial processes and the economy do come with challenges. Public discourse, especially in developing countries, has been focused on the question of how digitization may affect the “future of work”, affecting both the quality and quantity of jobs, as well as the work relationship between humans and machines. Furthermore, Industry 4.0 challenges the current economic model of growth for developing countries, which focuses on creating low- to medium-skilled jobs through light manufacturing – UNIDO can start the conversation on a new global vision for the inclusive and sustainable industrial development.

How is Industry 4.0 actually approached?

Industry 4.0 requires the Organization to address several levels, including the policy level through which advisory services based on empiric research is shared with UNIDO Member States to make informed decisions as to which industrial policies to pursue, also taking into account the challenges and opportunities of Industry 4.0. UNIDO’s norm-setting function is very important in this context as common standards allow for an even field of engagement that encourages international cooperation and partnerships. In addition, UNIDO prepares its Member States through a portfolio of technical cooperation projects to offset the negative effects of Industry 4.0 as well as to benefit from its advantages.

How is UNIDO targeting Industry 4.0?

UNIDO technical cooperation projects are designed to assist developing countries in mainstreaming their national, regional and industry innovation ecosystems to be able to leverage benefits of frontier technologies for pursuing inclusive and sustainable industrial and economic development.

For example, UNIDO pursues a number of activities, among them is the generation of data and statistics which provides the raw materials used by partners to explore, develop industrial activities, and facilitate platforms and partnerships for future collaborations. Additionally UNIDO assists countries in the development of investment priorities, technology transfer, capacity building, and partnership arrangements to foster structural changes. UNIDO is also working with Member States to address the skills and innovation gaps so as to sustain and raise productivity and competitiveness. It has also developed an integrated entrepreneurship and employment programme for women and youth, including modules on skills upgrading, industrial upgrading and modernization methodology.

Who are the active players in this field?

UNIDO places specific emphasis on technology promotion and diffusion in this newly emerging industrial segment and works with research institutions, UN agencies as well as with the public and the private sector.