“What concerns me most are the refrigerants used in air conditioners, which damage the ozone layer or are a greenhouse gas. It will be more difficult to protect the environment if more such refrigerants are used" - WANG Lei
The ‘Barefoot story’ is an engrossing tale: women battling the odds to better themselves in order to help their families and their communities by way of solar energy. The first Barefoot College was established in India in 1972 to train illiterate or semi-illiterate women, and to provide them with the basic skills to be solution-providers in their rural communities. The initiative has now spread to ninety-three countries around the world. The ‘Barefoot’ Solar engineers of Sierra Leone, supported by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) are part of it.
The Cuban government recently announced that its Soberana II vaccine against COVID-19 will soon enter Phase III trials, bringing the country one important step closer to producing Latin America’s first vaccine against the virus. Far from being an overnight success, Cuba’s ability to develop a vaccine is the result of decades-long investment in its biopharmaceutical industry, which in its early stages of development was supported by UNIDO. Cuba hopes to inoculate its entire population against COVID-19 with a home-grown vaccine this year. The country has four potential vaccines in development. If it clears the final clinical hurdle, the Cuban vaccine will be the first to be developed in Latin America.
UNIDO has contributed to a series of pilot online training workshops to build national capacity on science, technology and innovation in developing countries.
COVID-19 is highlighting how a lack of gender-sensitive statistics threatens women’s health. But a shortage of good, reliable data on women is also holding back progress towards inclusive and sustainable industrial development, and hampering preparations for the changing employment landscape of the post-COVID economy. UNIDO gathers national data from industrial censuses and surveys on women employed in different manufacturing sectors.
The industrialized countries, making up less than 20 per cent of the global population, produce over half of the world’s manufactured goods. Emerging economy China churns out a further 30 per cent. Developing countries together produce less than 3 per cent. There is now a risk that, as a result of the ongoing economic shockwaves from the COVID-19 pandemic, the gap could widen even further.
The COVID-19 pandemic had a drastic impact on the industrial sector of Ukraine. Approximately 700,000 small businesses in the service sector have closed - leading to the loss of between 3.5 to 4 million jobs. This is a particularly concerning figure given that Ukraine's small and medium-sized enterprises SME sector includes a high proportion of women-led micro-enterprises and female employees. In response, UNIDO joined partners in a new initiative to bolster the nation’s economic recovery.
Aside from the obvious human and economic impacts, one of the remarkable aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic has been the vacuum filled by digital technologies: ICTs have facilitated millions of people in working from home during lockdowns, maintaining contact with friends or family or even in analyzing whether a person may be potentially infected. The pandemic is also likely to have accelerated the process of digitalization of manufacturing, known as “the Fourth Industrial Revolution,” by shortening global value chains, increasing regional trade and mass customization, as businesses scramble to adapt to a “new normal” by mitigating risks. UNIDO is providing tailored-solutions to its Member States to help them recover and build inclusive, sustainable and resilient economies.
As Latin America becomes the global epicentre of the pandemic, UNIDO figures show manufacturing in the region as one of the sectors most affected by the shutdown of economic activity.
Impact of COVID-19 epidemic hits Indonesia’s small seaweed processors
UNIDO-supported Waste-to-Energy South Africa Project works to improve awareness and capacity surrounding the benefits of biogas, with a focus on harnessing energy produced from organic waste, mainly from the agro-processing industries. The project targets both industrial biogas and domestic biogas in rural settings. To catalyze youth employment and strengthen rural economies in South Africa, the project trains youth to construct and maintain domestic biogas digesters.
Many new technologies debuted during the epidemic. New disinfection technology uses a physical-static method to disinfect, which is safe for both humans and the environment.
Many young entrepreneurs in Tunisia have launched an appeal for mutual aid for the good of their community and initiated several projects to offer their assistance to health.
In a Wuhan hospital, a UNIDO partnership set unmanned vehicles to transport medical supplies, deliver meals for doctors and patients, and complete other emergency tasks.
To help counter the fast-spreading Covid-19 virus in Armenia, the TOSP apparel manufacturer is diversifying production to include medical masks. The TOSP Knitting Factory, located in the Malatia-Sebastia district in the western part of the capital, Yerevan, has set up a sterile area on the factory floor and has adjusted production lines to ramp up supplies of medical face masks for health care workers and vulnerable citizens. TOSP is currently manufacturing around 2,000 masks a day.