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    UNIS/OUS/028
    17 May 2010

    Re-issued as received

    UNIDO Director-General in Moscow for Meetings with Russian Officials, to Sign Agreement on Financing Project

    VIENNA, 17 May (UN Information Service) - Building the technical capacity of Sierra Leone's fishing sector and applying cost-effective seafood processing technologies are the aims of a project by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) that will be financed by the Russian Federation.

    An agreement on this was signed in Moscow today by UNIDO Director-General, Kandeh K. Yumkella, and the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister, Alexander Yakovenko.

    "When it comes to supporting development in Africa, the Russian Federation is clearly back on the map. Today's agreement to fund a project in Sierra Leone is a clear example that Russia is becoming a major voluntary contributor to the work of UNIDO," said Yumkella.

    According to an agreement signed in 2009, UNIDO will receive a special purpose contribution worth USD 2.6 million per annum from the Russian Federation for environmental and technology promotion projects in the Eurasian Economic Community (EurAsEC) and in Sierra Leone.

    Director-General Yumkella said that years of civil conflict in Sierra Leone almost destroyed the country's industrial fishery sector. "At present, there are two main constraints that are preventing the growth of the industrial fishing sector: support institutions do not have the necessary human resource capacity, particularly at the middle and junior levels of management, and there is no local skilled labour, so it has to rely on foreign workers," he said.

    The artisan fishery sector currently accounts for 85 per cent of the fish landed in Sierra Leone, making it extremely valuable in terms of jobs and food security. UNIDO will develop a Fishery Training Institute, and train trainers to help government officials strengthen institutional support, and industrial fishery sector workers and artisan fishers to move to more commercial-orientated operations.

    Yumkella also had meetings with Natural Recourses and Environment Minister, Yury Trutnev. He visited the Peoples' Friendship University of Russia to meet African students studying there and will deliver a lecture as part of the cycle "Golden collection of lectures" by outstanding political and public figures organized by the magazine "International Affairs".

    A USD 1.5 million project to be funded by Russia will improve water quality and reduce negative regional and transboundary impact from industrial activities within the middle and lower Volga River basin through the introduction of UNIDO's integrated approach for the transfer of environmentally sound technology. It will help identify, evaluate and prioritise pollution "hot-spots" in the basins of trans-border reservoirs and transfer environmentally sound technologies.

    Another project will lay the ground for creating a Centre for environmentally safe disposal of potentially hazardous consumer products and industrial wastes.

    The projects will be coordinated by the UNIDO Centre in Moscow.

    Yumkella also visited Kazan, where he met with the President of the Republic of Tatarstan, Rustam Minnikhanov, and St. Petersburg, where he participated in the Third Nevsky International Ecological Congress and had talks with Sergey Mironov, the Speaker of the Federation Council (upper house of the Russian parliament).

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    For further information, please contact:

    Mikhail Evstafyev
    UNIDO Press Secretary
    Mobile: (+43-699) 1459-7329
    Email: m.evstafyev@unido.org
    Internet: www.unido.org