WTCA News: Interview of Michael Dethlefsen
1 April 2020

On February 20, 2020 at WTC Moscow was held a workshop “Procurement in renewable energy for projects of UN organisations" as part of the International Wind Energy Forum RAWI Forum.

That was a second event of series of workshops planned for 2020 on the participation of Russian companies in UN procurement, where each workshop is dedicated to a particular sector / industry.

The first master class was organized by WTC Moscow together with UNIDO and CCI of St. Petersburg and was held on January 24, 2020 as part of the Eurasian Event Forum. It was dedicated to the Russian event industry - how event companies can participate in UNIDO procurement. It was led by Michael Detlefsen, Chief of Procurement of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO). 

Before the event, WTC Moscow press service managed to talk with Michael and ask him a few questions.

Michael, how do you rate the Eurasian Event Forum? What do you think about the congress and exhibition industry in Russia?

I am very grateful for the kind invitation by the Europe and Asia Event-Forum to participate in this event. I am also most grateful for the co-facilitation by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry here in Saint Petersburg as well as World Trade Center Moscow. 

I am extremely impressed by the program and the presenters. It has been quite a revelation for myself and for my Organization to see how advanced Russia is in the field of exhibition industry and in organizing events of a larger scale. I have personally witnessed two of them: one is the ‘Made in Russia’ forum, which was held in Moscow at WTC at the end of last year. Before that, the Export Forum that was organized by Ross Congress here in Saint Petersburg. I think both events were extremely professional.

Do you like the Forum program? Did you manage to learn something new for yourself?

The theme of today's conference is highly relevant in terms of sustainability. As you know the United Nations approved the 17 Sustainable Development Goals back in 2015, and sustainability is one of the major themes of this year's event. I believe I will be providing some information about how we at UNIDO are operationalizing the SDGs. We, as a specialized agency, are specifically responsible for operationalizing the SDG-9, which is on Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure.

In the context of the proceedings that I have been listening to so far, I understand that the exhibition industry worldwide attracts more than 300 million visitors annually, and I believe that the exhibition industry, and the prominent Russian partners, can contribute quite a bit to promote and advance the principles behind the Sustainable Development Goals. 

That is the theme of my today's lunch session this afternoon - to bring a bit closer to the audience the SDGs in the context of United Nations, specifically UNIDO.

Please, tell us more about the upcoming session.

I want to introduce listeners to how companies from the events industry can participate in UNIDO procurement. I believe there are indeed quite a range of opportunities for Russian exhibition-organizers, catering companies, what-have-you, to participate in this quite large UN market, especially in the field of events management and organization. 

I was just running the figures recently - it is a sizeable market volume within the UN. One needs to recall that we have a very specific mandate, which is the convening function. So we are convening thousands of events, conferences, seminars, workshops, large-scale public events, for which we would need the services of exhibition organizers. 

I believe that Russian companies are actually well positioned to participate in this specific market segment.

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