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UNIDO Boss Points to Importance of Technology Parks (adds)

Ljubljana, 08 April (STA) - The head of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) launched a regional conference on technology parks and industrial areas in Ljubljana on Tuesday, noting that technology parks are a key part of sustainable economic development and creation of new jobs.

"It is becoming increasingly clear that we need a new developmental approach which looks at society, economy and environment as a whole," UNIDO Director General Li Yong said.

According to him, technology parks, which establish partnerships between governments, universities, research institutions and companies, are an important element of this approach.

Slovenia is moving towards the right direction. "It is really good that the growth is back. Slovenia is a very important partner of UNIDO. They are focused on clean production, technology transfer and training," Li said.

The two-day conference, which is looking to increase the awareness about the role of technology parks in sustainable development, was also addressed by UNIDO regional director Olga Memedovic.

She pointed to the importance of inclusive and sustainable development, saying that the SE European and Central Asian countries were facing social and economic exclusion, high unemployment rates, slow economic growth and poor regional and global integration.

Stephen Taylor of the Trieste-based science park Area pointed to the importance of strong links between research institutions and companies, so that "innovation and added value do not get out of the country".

Economy Ministry State Secretary Janko Burgar believes that tech companies and services should be clustered at one place, presenting the Ljubljana Technology Park as an example of good practice. It associates 288 companies and 1,400 employees, he added.

Li, who is on a two-day official visit to Slovenia, moreover met representatives of Slovenian businesses at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GZS), was received by President Borut Pahor, Ljubljana Mayor Zoran Janković as well as already on Monday by Economy Minister Metod Dragonja.

The ministry said the pair discussed possibilities to boost the participation of Slovenian companies in UNIDO's projects.

Dragonja stressed that Slovenia's voluntary contribution in recent years had been fairly substantial - Slovenia is among the top five donor countries adjusted for country size - and valuable for some of the country's companies involved.

Slovenia will continue to help selected and industrial and service divisions in the future, the ministry announced.

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