Date: 22 July 2021By

UNIDO Global Call 2021 Launched

WAITRO’s progenitor (and present-day Partner) UNIDO officially launched its Global Call 2021 on July 9th at the World Artificial Intelligence Conference (WAIC2021), International AI City Forum, in Shanghai, China. The Global Call is aimed at identifying innovative solutions in cleantech and sustainable land management. Its objective is to identify readily deployable and scalable solutions to address the adverse effects of climate change and ultimately contribute to inclusive and sustainable economic development. The call is addressed to private sector entities (micro, small, medium, and large companies & startups) and this year the focus categories for the Award are:

  • Decarbonizing growing urban environments
  • Clean and efficient energy generation and storage
  • Circular production and industrial processes
  • Sustainable land management
Unido Global Call 2021 WAITRO 1,2,3 Go! Invited guests kick off the Global Call. Left to right: Mr. Liu Shunda, Former President of Key Large State-owned Enterprises Supervision Committee of State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council, Ms. Dai Lin, Deputy General Manager of China Unicom Shanghai Branch, Davide Cali, CEO of Expand Startup, Ms. Xiaolei ZHAO, Head of UNIDO ITPO Shanghai,  Dr. Paul Burrows, Vice President of the Jiangsu Industrial Technology Research Institute (and head of the WAITRO Secretariat, China Office), Mr. Sheng Xuefeng, President of Shanghai Smart City Development Institute, Mr. Wu Jiaxiang, Chairman of the Board, Zhangjiang Transnational Enterprises Joint Incubation Platform.

Initiated by the UNIDO Investment and Technology Promotion Office (ITPO Germany) in close collaboration with a leading German Think Tank, Future Cleantech Architects (FCA), the Global Call is being implemented by UNIDO’s nine ITPOs around the world and in collaboration with other UN organizations, including the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). The Call specifically seeks:

  • Technological solutions in the early stage (technologies at an advanced stage of R&D ready for implementation, these solutions have verified data from testing)
  • Technological solutions in the growth stage (solutions that have already been piloted with verified data at a replicable scale and that have a demonstrated proof of concept)
  • Mature technological solutions (technologies that are demonstrably established on the market and are aiming for expansion to new markets)

Each candidate can submit a maximum of two applications. A maximum of twelve winners will be given the opportunity to present their innovative solution to a large audience during the Global Call Award Ceremony and will benefit from ad hoc promotional and networking support provided by the organization. Applications must be received between 1 July and 2 August 2021 via this online form. The Award Ceremony will be held as a hybrid event in Remscheid, Germany and via a live stream on 26 October 2021 and more details about everything can be found here. WAITRO members should encourage their partners and spinouts to consider applying.

The WAIC forum itself covered new trends, models and results of digital transformation of cities with the theme of “AI Empowering Digital Government”. Bernardo Calzadilla-Sarmiento, Managing Director of the Directorate of Digitalization, Technology and Agri-Business, and Director of the Department of Digitalization, Technology and Innovation at UNIDO (and a participant in WAITRO://50 last year) delivered a video remark to congratulate the opening of the forum. He mentioned that UNIDO is focused on harnessing innovations from the business sector to foster sustainability and address inequalities, and is closely following current megatrends such as the digitalization of industry, climate change and the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Artificial intelligence will play an important role in accelerating the Fourth Industrial Revolution. In the context of cities, AI also has the potential to empower digital governance, and plays an enabling role for e-government services and the digitalization of urban governance, paving new ways for participation and inclusion, in order to realize Society 5.0.

UNIDO’s investment and technology promotion offices (ITPOs) actively promote green investment and the adoption of green and sustainable technologies, even in cities, where digitalization and AI technology make it possible to empower decarbonization and enhance city competitiveness. The UNIDO ITP Network is dedicated to promoting innovative technologies, especially for climate change mitigation and advanced digital production, helping countries acquire domestic and foreign investment for economic recovery and transformation. In 2020, the UNIDO ITP Network established the Fourth Industrial Revolution Alliance, dedicated to bridging the technological gap and digital divide between developing countries, regions, and disadvantaged groups.

In China, ITPO Beijing and ITPO Shanghai both cooperate with the Chinese government and private sector players to promote mutually beneficial investments and technology transfer. ITPO Shanghai has made great contributions to promoting the competitiveness of cities and is working on an Investment Enabling Environment Analysis, which constitutes the Green Index and Low-Carbon Index. ITPO Beijing formulated the Action Plan of the “Fourth Industrial Revolution Model Cities/Sample Cities for Best Practices in Fourth Industrial Revolution”.

ITPO Shanghai was established in 2001 under an agreement among the Shanghai Municipal People’s Government, MOFCOM of China and UNIDO, which aims to promote both inward and outward investment and technology and introduce them to other developing countries and transitional economies. ITPO Shanghai guides potential investors from their host countries and from developing countries at each stage of the investment cycle, from project identification through appraisal to implementation, and offers a full package of up-to-date information on screened and validated investment opportunities. By organizing various study tours, training, global forums, and events, ITPO Shanghai specifically focuses on enhancing the awareness related to SDGs 8, 9, and 17 at the country level.

Call For Action

More information here!

For innovation solution submission, please also send the email to and

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The World Association of Industrial and Technological Research Organizations (WAITRO) is a global membership-based association of research organizations, universities, and innovation stakeholders. WAITRO provides mechanisms and support for its members and partners to connect, share, inspire, and collaborate to solve global challenges and contribute to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

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