A Partnership of Respect - Elisabetta Illy
portfolio-item-template-default,single,single-portfolio-item,postid-8296,eltd-core-1.1.1,averly-ver-1.4,eltd-smooth-scroll,eltd-smooth-page-transitions,eltd-mimic-ajax,eltd-grid-1200,eltd-blog-installed,eltd-main-style1,eltd-disable-fullscreen-menu-opener,eltd-header-standard,eltd-sticky-header-on-scroll-down-up,eltd-default-mobile-header,eltd-sticky-up-mobile-header,eltd-dropdown-default,eltd-,eltd-fullscreen-search eltd-search-fade,eltd-disable-sidemenu-area-opener,wpb-js-composer js-comp-ver-5.3,vc_responsive

A Partnership of Respect



A warm welcome to the UNIDO-EU photography exhibition “A partnership of respect: the collaboration between UNIDO and the European Union through the eyes of Elisabetta Lattanzio llly, UNIDO Goodwill Ambassador” !

It is our honor to gather people from all around the world to enjoy an experience of trust, respect, and innovation. By inviting Mrs. Elisabetta Lattanzio llly, UNIDO Goodwill Ambassador, journalist and photographer, we want to have a look at UNIDO – EU collaboration from a different angle. Stepping back from numbers and formai agreements, we want to address the question Partnership far Respect.

Through policy convergence and technical cooperation in the field of inclusive and sustainable industriai development, the partnership between UNIDO and the EU is one of hope, one of respect far locai communities, especially women and youth, far the environment, far entrepreneurship, and more broadly respect for all.

The pictures selected far the exhibition show that very essence.

In this exhibition experience, you will take a step forward to contemplate the pictures. Just like in development, if you wish to see challenges addressed, and solutions proposed, there is no other way but “get dose”, watch sensibly, and then align with correct pace and dimension. The small size of the pictures illustrate the small steps needed to achieve big changes. This is precisely what UNIDO – EU partnership is about: concrete actions on the ground, joint projects, large impacts on people and on the planet.

We wish you an enjoyable experience and a good time at Expo Dubai!

Ambassador Stephan Klement – Head af Delegati on of the Europeon Union to the lnternational Organisations in Vienna
Patrick Gilabert – UN/DO Representative to the Europeon Union, and
Head of the UN/DO Brusse/s Liaison Office


Elisabetta Lattanzio llly is a journalist and photographer with over 25 years of experience advocating for equal dignity for all.

Her devotion, commitment, and passion in stimulating sustainable development have brought her to be nominateci as a UNIDO Goodwill Ambassador in 2019.

She founded Picture of Change, a photo agency, to share stories of positive Change from all over the world and raise awareness of the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals.


The “Austria makes sense” programme reflects a holistic and well-thought-out concept from the smart, sustainable architecture to the exhibition inside the pavilion and combines people, technology, and the environment in an engaging experience for all senses.

The Austrian pavilion is made from interlaced cones, plastered with loam rendering. The truncated cones are cut off at different heights, creating openings for light in varying sizes, which results in an impactful experience of the space. The Austrian pavilion brings the advantages of the combination of traditional and state-of-the-art building knowhow to life: pollutant-free, pleasant room climate, striking lighting ambiance, and spectacular and multifaceted room sequences.


“Tell me the facts and I’ll learn. Tell me the truth and I’ll believe. But tell me a story and it will live in my heart forever.”

Stories move people. They bind us together. They challenge our assumptions.

And in a world on the brick of the edge, possibly and hopefully undergoing an epochal transformation, we are in dire need of stories to be told. To open our eyes. To inspire our minds. To power our actions. To motivate our commitment.

I am a photographer. I use photos to tell stories. I look tor the situation that needs no words, that gets to you without further explanations. For this occasion though, I do want to spend some words on describing them better.

Because whilst we live in an era of systemic unsustainability, awareness is vital, as much as understanding is: we can’t shy away from our responsibilities. Awareness has to be a spur to act, to pursue ethical principles and behaviors that guide our common lite.

I am honoured to be here to share with you some stories of women, men, youth and nature, that represent respect, hope, and heritage.

Stories that are representative of the values of the partnership of UNIDO and the EU. A partnership that is ever so important to demonstrate the power of collaboration in facing today’s diverse, yet all so urgent challenges.


UNIDO and the European Union are natural partners in development cooperation and our joint actions benefit the promotion of inclusive and sustainable industriai development (I5ID) and the achievement of the 2030 Agenda.

Both organizations are frontrunners in promoting a sound private sector development, safeguarding the environment, fostering clean energy transitions, and encouraging multi-stakeholder partnerships for a multilateralism that is fit for purpose.

The strong commitment from the EU to UNIDO’s unique expertise is expressed by the fact that the EU and its Member States are among the biggest donors to UNIDO.

Thanks to our policy convergence and efficient technical cooperation, we transiate the EU priorities 2019-2024 and UNIDO’s vision for green, digitai, and structural economie transformations into concrete projects in more than 113 countries. They successfully contribute to creating shared prosperity, advancing economie competitiveness, safeguarding the environment, and strengthening knowledge and institutions.

The challenges and opportunities stemming from the global pandemie will require innovative thinking. EU-UNIDO partnership is a promising path towards leaving no one behind and building back better I She founded Picture of Change, a photo agency, to share stories of positive Change from all over the world and raise awareness of the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals.


China, Lincang.

China, Lincang.

An example of resilience. A blind elderly lady cleans tea leaves on a plantation in Menghai, in the villages of the Miao minority. She sits proudly under her patio, with her tea leaves on the ground waiting to be carefully chosen by her soft and steady hands. So used and so respectful of her surroundings that her blindness is barely noticeable. She tells me how she always honoured her land and her gifts, and how important it is to follow the course of nature. She too, has bent under the weight of the passing years, but she refuses to break because of her indissoluble bond with Mother Nature. lt is only when you arrive in the most remote places on Earth, where everything remains as stili as it originally was, that you realize how symbiotic the relationship between man and nature is. And it is only by understanding, appreciating, and respecting that magie balance that we can thrive in overcoming the current crises.

Bolivia, Districts of Cusco.

Dedication, resilience, and education are the most important drivers to ensure a better future for younger generations. Donna Carmencita decided to devote herself to her alpaca pastures, alone. Even in the Andean long and cold nights, she takes care of her cattle, the only source of sustenance for her family. The wrinkles on her face are the stories of her past. Years filled with hard work in strenuous climate conditions, yet she never gave up. Her goal was to obtain quality shearing, with quality pricing. And she did it. Let us never underestimate how far determination can get us and even more importantly, let us find the right determination to make our future sustainable.

Myanmar, Pegu.

Mother Nature is over 4.5 billion years old, twenty-two thousand five hundred times more than mankind. She hosts us, feeds us, and does not need us to survive because she will always be able to adapt to the changes that we Men have reserved for her over the years. Now it is up to us, guests of Mother Nature, to choose whether to continue to live respecting it, enabling it to prosper, and creating a virtuous environment for us humans too. Mother Nature will always survive. Let us think about it before we act. We have no rights to destroy it.

China, Yunnan, Xishuangbanna.

Tea plantation. An almost unbearable heat, with the sun hitting me straight in the head, heavy clothes, wet and dirty. I look up and find myself face to face with one the most elegant, delicate, and fascinating women I have ever seen in my life. Beauty is not a status. lt is all that is inside you. At the end of a hard day’s work, the woman tea picker looked like she carne out of a fashion show. “Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it”, said Confucius. Let us not be blind.

India, Maharashtra.

lf one has a hard time imagining how our agriculture dynamics can change because of climate change, well, I would recommend taking a look at India. lncreasing competition among farmers has caused water waste and aggravated droughts affected by climate change. The result is that traditional village wells and basins run out in a few days, prompting farmers to use the aquifers aggressively and forcing them to migrate in search of new sources, away from their homes, from their children’s schools. Vast regions of the country are drying up and tensions are arising at an almost unprecedented level, breaking up the country. The dire consequences of climate change are already here. To undermine them, even if afar, is to be part of the problem.


Myanmar, Chauk.

There is a popular saying in Myanmar: ‘the important things are decided by men, the less important things are decided by women, but which things are important and which are not, are decided by women’. And while I look at these women crossing the river, I cannot but wonder; what have they decided is important and what not. Perhaps they have decided to continue to follow the common norms and work for a more dignified and prosperous future. They are walking elegantly, almost dancing, despite enduring a fatigue that wouldn’t spare even the strongest. On their heads the weight of a !ife of sacrifices, a !ife of those who cannot escape a marked destiny. When you are there, and reality hits you hard, you cannot help but ask yourself how and why we have come to this point, what is wrong with our world, and. where we have failed. Women must be treated and respected as the invaluable drivers of growth that they are. With no exceptions must we alt work together to make education and support accessible to them.

Madagascar, Antsiranana.

Madagascar is one of the largest cocoa producers in the world. Hundreds of families live thanks to this precious product. They grow it, harvest it, dry it, and collect it in large jute sacks. Sacks that will then be shipped to what for them are magica! factories very far away that turn beans into chocolate. Because in Madagascar, very few know what chocolate is. Yes, the very same people that make eating chocolate possible do not know what it is. The question automatically becomes: how is it possible to understand the quality without knowing what the final product is? lt underlines a great weakness of the industry. We have fortunately progressed enough to prove that the adequate contro! of supply chains and professional training ensures that profit is not the sole driver of our economy, but that inclusiveness becomes a new virtuous and regenerative business model for alt of us. lt remains now to be applied unanimously.

Pakistan, Chitral.

The Kalash. A piece of history that persists in an enclave of Pakistan, a population that can boast the origins from Greek mythology as descendants of Alexander the Great. At 3000 meters above nothing, 3500 gazes teli the story of an ethnicity that survived because of its isolation within a chaotic labyrinth of impenetrable mountains. Up here, where the silence is broken only by the flapping wings of eagles, the young Kalash women sew to keep their unique tradition alive. A window of a distant world, to which we bind with the thread of fashion, that must remind us of the respect we owe to tradition.

India, Maharashtra, Denganmal.

The Water Wives. In some lndian villages affected by drought, women are in charge of providing water for the whole family. They are the ‘water wives’; second or third wives of farmers, who have the sole purpose of going in search of water while their husbands work in the fields and the other wives look after the house and the children. Kilometers of dirt, heat, and stones separate them from the limited sources of water. In these arid villages, they can experience up to 8 months of drought, hence why having two or three wives is not uncommon. In exchange for a roof over their heads and the social status of wives, these women become “bais paaniwaali” (“water wives”). I asked them what they would like. A chorus of unique voices answered: water. We can no longer pretend not to see these realities, it is time to look at them straight into the eyes.

Myanmar, Inie Lake.

Have you ever been exposed to such overwhelming beauty that all of a sudden tears start falling without knowing why? We are talking about the so-called Stendhal’s syndrome. lt happened to me while watching a group of women working with maniaca! care to turn lotus flowers into precious silk fabrics. I could have not imagined the possibility of weaving such a thin and delicate thread. But as a mother, I do recognize the resilience these women are driven by. A glim pse of a promising future for their children makes everything possible. Behind beauty lies also hard work, resilience, and satisfaction.


Togo, Koutammakou, “Vallée des Tambenna”.

We are in the ancient village hidden within the Togolese mountains, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which hosts the typical houses built with mud since the 17th century. One may cali them “primitive”, but it would be a greatly misinterpreted understatement. A young giri looks at me, gently takes my hand and invites me into her home. To enter her room, her magie kingdom, you need not to bend down, but rather crawl on the ground. And while I am on my knees, close to her, gratitude suddenly hits me hard. I realize the enormous trust she has placed in me in introducing me her world. And yet again, I think to myself, shouldn’t we be doing more to deserve this kind of pure, genuine trust?

Haiti, Cité Soleil.

A young girl’s smile has no limits, no restrictions. She just wants to play and to be happy. Those are her rights. She keeps on running around, laughing cheerfully, unaware of what her playground represents for the world. But the thoughtless actions of people mean the world; firstly theirs, then ours. Perhaps it should be us, the “civilized” ones, to lose our dignity in the face of such situations. We don’t have the right to be afraid to watch.

Ghana, Bonyere.

Ghana, Bonyere.

Around here kids grow up in the fields, playing with cocca pods and hiding among their trees. Amma holds her little sister in pagne, the African method of carrying children. The cocca here will make it as one of the many chocolate bars that gets on our tables. As consumers of a deeply interconnected world, it has become our responsibility to know where our food comes from: we owe respect. To ali the hands who work in the background. To their work. To their product. To their care.

lvory Coast, Noé.

Millennia of uninterrupted symbiosis with nature have allowed many tribal people to apprehend even the most imperceptible hints of the natural world. The tribes learnt to hunt animals and gather edible roots and berries. They learnt to sense climate change, to predict the movements of ice sheets, the return of migratory geese and the flowering cycles of fruit trees. To the everyday challenges, they have responded with sophisticated hunting, chasing, breeding and navigation techniques. A testimony of human beings’ creative potential and of their extraordinary ability to adapt. But, far how long? Nature is more resilient than us. Let us not fall by thinking otherwise.

Myanmar, Mandalay.

They wear humble clothes, shave their heads and often walk barefaot. lt is common far every boy to experience life in the monastery at least twice in his life. This “trial” far some may only last weeks, maybe months, while far others it becomes a life choice. They say: “You must become a monk befare you can become a man”. There are mostly children in the monastery. At dawn, they go out on the streets to collect offerings such as rice, curry, or other faod. The monks then go back and have breakfast. The rest of the morning is far studying until 11 am, then lunchtime and the last solid meal of the day. They spend the rest of the time studying, meditating or playing, far the youngest. Joining a monastery is a gift far many, it means having the chance to have an education and maybe one day enter the Buddhist University of Yangon. lt shows the power of dedication and community in propelling opportunities.


Myanmar, Inie Lake.

Myanmar, Inie Lake.

Hla Thein, a petite woman with a shy smile. One would never think she is 75 years old. Her wooden house is magie; invaded by the rhythmic sound of the looms, and other women of the family spinning the lotus flower. A sacred flower for both Buddhism and Hinduism, it symbolizes purity and the ability to remain so despite facing immoral realities. The peculiarity of this flower is that every night it closes and plunges under the water, to re-emerge at sunrise. The fibers, which become silk, are manually extracted from the stem of the flower. The thread is then obtained by joining the filaments of 3-5 stems, to be spun and woven by hand according to traditional methods. lt can take up to a full month to produce a kilo of yarn. An extremely delicate job that requires utmost care for the raw materiai.

Togo, Agomé Tomgbé.

Togo, Agomé Tomgbé.

Sometimes it is the really small things that are capable of changing people’s destinies. Take Zahina, a 23-year-old with a 4 months old baby and one big dream: to learn, bui Id and susta in a decent life for her family. She signs up for a sewing class, telling everyone that as soon as she understands the art, she will start designing and manufacturing clothes for the people of her village. Her pian doesn’t stop there, she knows she will then look for a new home, perhaps closer to the city, and have a piace where her child will be able to play and grow. Zahina has so many dreams but yet one real, true goal: committing to learn, to become better. lt is also from these stories of determination and resilience that we must get our inspiration, today too often skewed by privileges that we are not even aware of having.

Pakistan, Sialkot.

We are in the Punjab region, on the border with Kashmir. About 1.6 million people live in Sialkot; 40,000 of them work in the soccer ball industry and produce between 40 and 65 million pieces per year. 40% of the world’s soccer balls are produced here. There are 135 factories, mainly specialized in hand sewing. Women are particularly welcome given their sewing skills, a key feature for putting the last stitch on every ball. For most women it is more than just a job, it is also a reason to finally leave home, to emancipate. That is what Zayn (in Pakistani it means beautiful, and oh if she is!) said to me. She considers herself lucky, as she can socialize, learn and look forward to a brighter future.

India, Mumbai.

India, Mumbai.

Dhobi Ghat is the largest and oldest open-air laundry piace in the world. Here, almost 7,500 “washers” (called dhobis) live with their families inside small rooms built in the wash house itself. For a few rupees, they work strenuously non-stop, washing around 750,000 items each day and undergoing exposure to chemical agents. The conditions of the underprivileged dhobis and their families are dire, but it could get worse. Now, these people are also at the mercy of the builders trying to buy the area, exploiting the power of the most corrupt politicians. lndustrialization must not be at the expense of the poorest, but inclusive. A prosperous pursuit for ali.

Haiti, Port-au-Prince.

Haiti, Port-au-Prince.

In the Port-au-Prince slum, or ghetto, everything is covered by a patina of dust and misery. But if you look closer, you find colours and life all around you. Here a woman cleans a fish. As I get caught up in her gestures, I ask myself how many people she will end up sharing that fish with. Confucius says: “Give a man a fish and you will feed him for a day; teach him to fish and you will feed him for life.” Having travelled in many of the most underdeveloped countries of the world, I can testify the value of this saying. There is a fundamental responsibility to take care of the more vulnerable now, not by pitying them but rather by respecting them equally and teaching them to self sustain their economy.