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Manufacturers play a crucial role in the exponentially evolving world economy, generating wealth for investors, taxes for governments, and employing half a billion people worldwide. They are also facing challenges from rapid transformations in technology and global value chains that are driven by the unpredictable impact of the digital revolution, increasing cost pressures and geopolitical uncertainty. These challenges can no longer be resolved in isolation, they require a global solution – a solution that will also bring manufacturing closer to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs), for the benefits of businesses as well as the communities they serve.

As the world’s first cross-industry initiative, GMIS offered a voice and venue for leaders to engage on the future of manufacturing, highlighting the need for greater investment in capabilities to foster innovation and drive global skills development. Uniting key stakeholders, including visionary world leaders, expert industry CEOs and specialist researchers and academics, GMIS placed manufacturing at the heart of economic transformation and government policy making, promoting it as a tool for global cooperation and collaboration.

By addressing the future of manufacturing, we need to recognise the role of the future workforce. Hence, hosting the first edition of GMIS at the Paris Sorbonne University in Abu Dhabi was an unconventional, yet appropriate and symbolic, venue. By bringing together over 3,000 leaders from governments, businesses and civil society organisations, I am confident that #GMIS2017 left a lasting impression on all participants. I am pleased to enclose the #GMIS2017 Report which includes the Outcome Statement and Summary Report, both of which capture the spirit and aspirations of the special collaboration created by an international audience that spanned from over 40 countries to collaborate and contribute towards global good, working for the benefit of all.


The inaugural Summit, organised in close collaboration between the United Arab Emirates and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), took place in Abu Dhabi from 27-30 March 2017. #GMIS2017 set out to identify practical steps towards progress and to draw up a roadmap for development, driven by the collective action of governments, the private sector and civil society. It focused on the role of manufacturing in reconstructing the global economy and restoring global prosperity by debating six themes, namely: technology and innovation; global value chains; skills, employment and education; sustainability and the environment; infrastructure; standards and stakeholder alignment.

Harnessing the potential of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) is crucial for all countries to create employment, reskill and train the workforce, increase incomes and, of utmost importance, reduce both poverty and inequality. Managed effectively, 4IR can promote the achievement of sustainable development across all its dimensions – economic, environmental and social. Indeed it already supports equal opportunities for men and women and is premised against all forms of discrimination. The role of the private sector must focus not only on technological advance and investments, but on its key partner role, which is essential to achieving future global development to effectively and proactively resolve challenges emerging from 4IR.


1. 4IR and the SDGs: The increasing convergence of industrial technologies presents an opportunity for governments to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Harnessing the transformative effects of advanced technologies such as robotics, 3D printing and virtual reality will enable key players in the private sector, the public sector and civil society to identify concrete ways to shape factories of the future in meeting the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

2. Role of Government and the Global Financial Community: New financial schemes for funding technological convergence and enabling the adoption of Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies in a wide variety of countries are expected to emerge in support of start-ups and R&D in areas such as robotics and nanotechnologies. To this end, the government’s role should be limited to the establishment and promotion of progressive regulatory environments, whilst investment banks, venture capitalists and institutional investors fuel, engage and systematically support emerging technologies and future research and innovation.

3. Involving Less-Developed Regions: Although the transformation of industrial processes is taking place all over the world, corporate and government leaders recognise that many regions remain completely disconnected from these global networks and the knowledge related to infrastructure, systems and technologies. Engagement with less-developed regions in global value chains will enable them to optimise benefits from emerging production networks by localising the production of basic goods that are necessary for connectivity between the digital and operational worlds, and that are increasingly becoming low cost.

4. Engaging Local Suppliers: In the same vein, many global companies are indirectly participating in global value chains through their interactions with suppliers locally (supporting qualification and production activities locally). These synergies will be instrumental in enhancing the performance of local economies in a global market.

5. Retraining the Workforce: We must be mindful of the ramifications of advanced technologies on employment and we should offer the existing workforce training and reskilling opportunities. Economies need integrated vocational training and education packages which reflect future opportunities for young men and women.

6. Making Manufacturing Aspirational: The Fourth Industrial Revolution can help make manufacturing aspirational for today’s youth across all nations, engaging them in new, exciting and phenomenally different jobs and occupations, such as smart manufacturing and circular economies, that ultimately contribute to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

7. Climate Action: Safeguarding the environment remains a priority to both businesses and policy-makers to ensure that any negative corollary effects resulting from industrial processes are minimised or mitigated (wherever possible). Existing technologies like smart grids, offshore wind, carbon capture and sequestration technology, algae biofuel, geothermal energy, lithium-ion batteries and concentrated solar voltaics can significantly reduce the global energy footprint.

8. Smart Cities: New developments in urban transportation can accelerate the trend towards smart cities because urbanisation will be intricately linked to the global sustainability agenda. Transportation systems can lead to the development of new technologies for cities; introducing dramatic improvements in urban planning and building standards that promote the efficient use of water and energy. A multi-stakeholder approach towards new urban development models will also expedite the pace of re-inventing and rethinking infrastructure design, development and investment.

9. Standards: Clear, concise and reliable international standards on technology interoperability, adoption, transfer and development are important to sustaining investments and minimising technological risks, whilst streamlining the global approach towards skills and capabilities development to help promote and accelerate knowledge transfer and fair trade.

10. Stakeholder Alignment: Bringing together the key stakeholders – including different branches of governments, private companies, academic institutions – offers an opportunity to modify existing paradigms that need to adapt quickly to emerging conditions in the future. Examples of such stakeholder collaboration include jointly taking on the responsibility for training our youth, modifying existing Intellectual Property laws and protecting the environment.


In endorsing the 10 Consensus Points, GMIS participants support the importance and continuation of an ongoing Global Manufacturing and Industrialisation Summit to amplify the role of manufacturing, and to pave the way towards achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

The founding partners of GMIS will work together to mobilise support in setting the agenda for future GMIS sessions within the context of the UN SDGs.

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