Eye on the Caribbean

Haiti’s Latortue wants UNIDO field office in the Caribbean

Posted on Monday 28 November 2005

by Charles Arthur

Vienna, 28 nov. 05 [AlterPresse] --- Haiti’s interim prime minister, Gérard Latortue, today called on the UNIDO
leadership to establish an office in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, "from where it can
cover the whole Caribbean region".

Referring to UNIDO’s past involvement in the Caribbean region, Latortue
insisted that things must change. "The new UNIDO office in the Caribbean cannot
be as it was in the past, when just one officer spent all his time traveling
to five or six Caribbean islands, and was left with no time to do anything. The
new office must be properly worked out."

Latortue also hailed the appointment of Kandeh Yumkella as the new
Director-General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).

Addressing the opening session of the Eleventh UNIDO general conference in
Vienna, Latortue said, "For a long time, I have hoped that the head of UNIDO
would be a highly-qualified candidate from sub-Saharan Africa. Today, I am
happy to see this dream realized with the designation of Dr. Kandeh Yumkella, a
high-level professional who has studied and taught at the top US universities."

Dr. Kandeh Yumkella, from Sierra Leone, will be officially appointed the new
Director-General of UNIDO on 2 December. He takes over from the current
Director-General, the Argentinean, Carlos Magariños, who has lead UNIDO since 1997.

Latortue, who himself worked for UNIDO for twenty-two years (1972-1994),
told the opening plenary session of the UNIDO conference, "I am happy to see a
black African director". He appealed to the conference to give all possible
support to Dr Yumkella and his team.

Latortue, who steps down as interim prime minister of Haiti in February
2006, said he believed that "UNIDO can play a leading role in the fight against
poverty and help ensure wealth creation."

UNIDO helps developing countries and countries with economies in transition
in their fight against marginalization in today’s globalized world. It
mobilizes knowledge, skills, information, and technology to promote productive
employment, a competitive economy and a sound environment.

It was set up in 1966, and became a specialized agency of the United Nations
in 1985. As part of the United Nations, UNIDO has responsibility for promoting
industrialization throughout the developing world. Its headquarters are in
Vienna, Austria, and it is represented in 35 developing countries.

Latortue said UNIDO could help create wealth in developing countries by
"creating jobs so that men and women don’t have to emigrate," by utilizing
natural resources in a responsible manner, by introducing norms and standards to
assure the competitiveness of products made in the South, and by utilizing
scientific and technological advances.

He added that all of the above "could only be achieved if we go beyond the
normal framework. We need integrated programs and projects together with
institutions such as the ILO (International Labor Organization), the FAO (Food and
Agriculture Organization), and UNESCO." [ca apr 28/11/05 22:20