UNIDO: UN Industrial Development Organization

Topic A: Ensuring Corporate Accountability for Developing Countries

At the 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development, a multitude of NGOs agreed on two important points. They concluded it was necessary to “recognize that corporate responsibility and accountability are essential elements of sustainable development.” They also acknowledged the UN member states’ neglect to ensure corporate accountability in their follow-up to the Earth Summit. This accountability concept, however, is difficult to implement because it is a non-binding principle. While corporations are expected to act in responsible, sustainable, and just ways, the global community lacks mechanisms to enforce such expectations. Globalization has also allowed strong multinational corporations to exploit developing countries, as these states have become dependent on international trade and involvement in order to be economically sustainable. Thus, UNIDO must ensure that these developing countries are supported and that corporations are held accountable to governments and citizens for the social and environmental implications of their actions.

Topic B: Sustainable City Planning in Rapidly Developing Countries

In developing countries, cities tend to suffer from numerous problems associated with their urban management and development processes. It is estimated that by 2050, “more than two-thirds of the world’s population will live in cities, up from about 54 percent today.” Although the benefits of sustainable city planning are understood, it is important to recognize that rapid, often unplanned urbanization can risk profound social instability, infrastructure instability, water crises, and the spread of disease. Urbanization also raises concerns about whether cities can finance enormous amounts of infrastructure for millions of new citizens, adequately plan for land requirements, provide basic services, and expand in a way that both strengthens the economy and preserves the environment and Earth’s ecosystems, as well as prepares for the shocks of climate change. UNIDO supports the integration of social development, economic development, and environmental management in order to promote the sustainability of cities in developing countries.

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