Tuesday, 20 October 2009

South Africa, Tunisia to benefit from UNIDO green projects

BERN, 20 October 2009 – Sustainable transformation of energy practices in South African industry and the promotion of environmentally-friendly production in Tunisia are the focus of two new projects developed by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).

UNIDO Director-General, Kandeh K. Yumkella, and Swiss State Secretary for Economic Affairs (SECO), Jean-Daniel Gerber, signed an agreement in Bern today on the funding of the projects.

The project for South Africa will help put in place energy management standards, ensure their adoption by industries at large and achieve a significant shift in energy practices by introducing a system optimization approach. The Swiss Government will contribute EUR 2 million to the project, while the South African Government will give another EUR 5 million.

“South Africa’s energy intensive industry was developed based on abundant and cheap energy resources. But in 2008, the country experienced an energy crisis with frequent blackouts. The energy shortages directly threaten the growth rate in the country and the region. Taking advantage of its experience UNIDO will contribute to a substantial improvement of energy efficiency in industry,” said Yumkella.

To stimulate the demand for energy efficient services the project will help formulate a policy framework, reinforce institutional capacity and raise awareness through demonstration projects. It will also contribute to building the institutional capacities required to certify compliance with energy management standards, and to train company managers, local trainers and consultants in energy system optimization and energy auditing. The experience gained during the implementation of the project will be shared with neighbouring countries in the region.

The project, developed at the request of the South African industry, the Department for Trade and Industry and the Department of Energy, will also lead to significant reduction of CO2 emissions and, at the same time, increase the competitiveness of industries. A comprehensive system to monitor energy savings and productivity gains will be set up.

A separate EUR 1.5 million project, financed by SECO, will focus on promoting environmentally-friendly production in Tunisia. It will help increase the competitiveness of small and medium enterprises, strengthen the Tunisian National Cleaner Production Centre, and support the development of a regional network of such centres in the Middle East and North Africa.

The project is aligned with a new programme that UNIDO is carrying out in cooperation with the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), and will contribute to UNIDO’s Green Industry initiative. This aims to create national capacities in the area of cleaner production, strengthen dialogue between industry and governments, as well as promote investments for development and transfer of cleaner technology.

On 21 October, Director-General Yumkella will visit Lucerne to open an international conference on efficient use of resources and clean production. The event is organized by UNIDO and UNEP.

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Hans-Peter Egler, SECO, Wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit und Entwicklung, Leiter Ressort Handelsförderung

tel. +41 31 324 08 13