UNIDO moves from supporting industrialization based on central planning, state-owned enterprises and import substitution to private industries and export-led growth. At the same time, there is a greater focus on South-South cooperation and solidarity. Technical cooperation increasingly focuses on traditional activities such as investment promotion. A long process of ratifying UNIDO’s establishment as a specialized agency of the United Nations is finally concluded in 1985.
During this decade, consequences of several oil price shocks shape policies. Concurrently, the political and economic differences between industrialized, developing countries and newly industrialized countries become more profound. In the context of rising oil prices, UNIDO starts to assist developing countries in the areas of industrial energy efficiency and renewable energy.
A system of industrial consultations is established, becoming a dialogue mechanism of experts, industry and government representatives for achieving consensus on facilitating and deepening international industrial cooperation.