A programmatic review of UNIDO/UNEP national cleaner production centres

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  • Journal of Cleaner Production 12 (2004) 195205www.elsevier.com/locate/jclepro

    A programmatic review of UNIDO/UNEP national cleanerproduction centres

    Ralph A. Luken , Jaroslav NavratilUnited Nations Industrial Development Organization, P.O. Box 300, Vienna, A-1400, Austria

    Received 4 March 2002; accepted 28 October 2002

    Abstract

    The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)jointly initiated the National Cleaner Production Centres (NCPCs) programme in 1995 with the funding of eight centres. The centresand the CP assessors trained by them do not deliver ready-made solutions, but rather they train and advise their clients on how tofind the best solutions for specific problems. Two UNIDO evaluations of the programme confirm that the methodology forimplementing the CP concept at the factory level is an effective tool for identification and prioritisation of technology changes thatyield both environmental and financial benefits. However, the dissemination and application of the CP concept to small and mediumsize (SMEs) on the basis of its own financial merits does not occur easily; hence, there is a need to support the dissemination ofthe concept through promotional (awareness raising, training) activities, national policy formulation and access to financing. 2003 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

    Keywords: Cleaner production; National cleaner production centres; Capacity building; Global; UNIDO

    1. Introduction

    Chapter 34 of Agenda 21 endorsed by the UN Confer-ence on Environment and Development in Rio in 1992calls on international organizations, including UnitedNations agencies, to promote, facilitate and finance asappropriate, the access to and transfer of ESTs and corre-sponding know-how, in particular to developing coun-tries [1]. In response to this request, several bilateraland multilateral institutions have established pro-grammes to promote the utilization of cleaner techno-logies and techniques in developing countries within theoverarching concepts of cleaner production/pollutionprevention.

    The World Summit on Sustainable Development(Johannesburg, 2002) reviewed the obstacles to progresstowards sustainable development and the results achi-eved since the endorsement of Agenda 21. The Johann-esburg Plan of Implementation approved at the summit

    Corresponding author. Tel.: +43-1-26026-3352; fax: +43-1-21346-5031.

    E-mail addresses: r.luken@unido.org (R.A. Luken); j.navratil@cbox.cz (J. Navratil).

    0959-6526/$ - see front matter 2003 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.doi:10.1016/S0959-6526(03)00102-1

    recognized, amongst other things, the need to reduceunsustainable patterns of production in both developedand developing countries and called for yet again urgentaction to promote, facilitate and as appropriate financethe development, transfer and diffusion of ESTs and thecorresponding know-how to and amongst developingcountries [2].

    This article reviews one programme, the jointUNIDO/UNEP National Cleaner Production Centres(NCPCs), set up in response to Agenda 21 with the ulti-mate (developmental) objective being the widespreadapplication of the CP approach at all decision-makinglevels in industry with a significant focus on the uptakeof cleaner technologies and techniques within the indus-trial sector. The article starts with background infor-mation on the NCPC programme from its inception to itscurrent status. Then, it moves on to describe the resultsachieved by the programme and puts forward con-clusions and lessons learned that need to be taken intoaccount in designing new and modifying existing pro-grammes for reducing unsustainable patterns of indus-trial production in developing countries.

    The article is based on two in-depth evaluations of theUNIDO/UNEP NCPC programme undertaken by

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    UNIDOs evaluation unit and other documents availableat UNIDO headquarters [3,4]. Four otherevaluations/reports about the programme, either in theirentirety or partially, were found as part of the prepara-tory process for writing the article. One was an evalu-ation undertaken for UNIDO at the end of 1995, withonly one year of programme operation [5]. The evalu-ation was limited to project design and administrativearrangements as the NCPCs had barely begun their pro-grammatic activities. The second was a comparativeanalysis of several different donor sponsored CP pro-grammes by the US Agency for International Develop-ment and the Swiss Federal Office for Foreign EconomicAffairs [6]. Five of the 22 interviews undertaken for thereport were with the directors of NCPCs. The analysisaddressed programme design and management issues aswell as commenting on the relative importance of vari-ous programmatic activities undertaken by cleaner pro-duction centres. The third was a critique of the UN man-date for EST as set forth in Agenda 21 and a secondarysource critique of the NCPC programme. It suggestedthat the lack of integration of NCPCs into national sys-tems of innovation makes the NCPC role limited andperipheral [7]. The fourth is advice on how to set up anNCPC and a description of the six programmatic func-tions typically undertaken by an NCPC [8].

    2. Background

    2.1. Purpose of the NCPC programme

    The basic premise of the UNIDO/UNEP NCPC pro-gramme is that cleaner production can only be sustainedin a country if there is capacity in place to adopt it. Trueappreciation of cleaner production and therefore itsapplication can only come about if the concept is pro-moted by professionals in the beneficiary country itselfand adjusted by them to the local conditions. Buildingcapacity to do this through the centres is the main objec-tive of the programme. The programme targets the trans-fer of know-how and not the transfer of technology. Thecentres and the cleaner production assessors trained bythem do not deliver ready-made solutions; rather theytrain and advise their clients on how to find the bestsolution for their specific problems.

    During the three to five years it takes UNIDO to fullyestablish its centres, the latter build capacity in the pro-cess of offering six basic services:

    Awareness-raising with short seminars up to one dayduration and dissemination of general CP infor-mation;

    training as professional training in CP methodologyused in in-plant assessments;

    technical assistance, both in the form of in-plant CPassessments and in other ways;

    advice on sources of financing for cleaner techno-logies;

    information dissemination as technology informationneeded for in-plant assessments;

    policy advice.

    2.2. Brief history and status of the UNIDO/UNEPprogramme

    The report from UNIDOs Conference on Ecologi-cally Sustainable Industrial Development called uponUNIDO to assist developing countries build insti-tutional capacity to develop, absorb and diffuse pollutionprevention techniques and cleaner production processesessential to making the transition to ESID [9].

    The UNIDO Energy and Environment Unit finalizeda project document requesting donor support for theestablishment of National Cleaner Production Centres inJuly 1992 and submitted it to the Government of theNetherlands in November 1992, receiving a funding ofUS$ 1.6 million in 1994. The project document calledfor a joint programme between UNIDO and UNEP, withUNIDO acting as the executing agency and UNEPsIndustry and Environment Programme Activity Centreproviding professional support (methodology andinformation). This Phase One document envisaged sup-porting eight to nine NCPCs for three years.1 In February1993, UNIDO and UNEP requested developing coun-tries to apply, on the basis of guidelines issued by thesetwo organizations, as host countries for NCPCs. Theguidelines stated that an NCPC could be located inindustrial trade associations, chambers of commerce andindustry, industrial productivity centres, universities orother industry-oriented organizations. UNIDO received

    1 The brief description in the project document reads as follows:UNIDOs Environment and Energy Branch and UNEPs Industry andEnvironment Programme Activity Centre propose to support NationalCleaner Production Centres (NCPCs) in approximately 20 countriesfor a five year period. The NCPCs will serve a coordinating and cata-lytic role for cleaner production by providing policy advice on environ-mental management, supporting demonstrations of cleaner productiontechniques and technologies, training industry and government pro-fessionals in this new area of industrial environmental managementand by being a source of information on cleaner production. They willbecome the core of a network of institutions and individuals involvedin pollution prevention activities, they will be managed by experiencedcountry nationals and hosted in existing institutions. Phase I of thisprogramme will support eightnine NCPCs for three years. Phase Iof this programme will test the effectiveness of this approach for thepromotion of pollution prevention/source reduction as an importantcomplement to end-of-pipe pollution control efforts. Phase I achieve-ments and experiences will form the basis for an application to SpecialPurpose Donors and UNDP for Phase II, which, if accepted, wouldfund the eight-nine existing NCPCs for two more years and 12 newsNCPCs for five years.

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    applications from 39 institutions in 25 countries on theclosure date of October 1993. In November 1993, anexpert panel selected nine institutions/countries basedprimarily on the strength of the host institution andqualifications of the potential head of the centre (calledthe Cleaner Production Promoter) and taking intoaccount regional distribution.