Monday, 14 June 2010

UNIDO, Japanese “green city” to spread environmental technology, recycling know-how to developing countries

KITAKYUSHU, Japan, 14 June 2010 – The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) will help share the experience of the Japanese city of Kitakyushu in areas of environmental technology and waste recycling services with developing countries.

An agreement on this was signed today by UNIDO Director-General, Kandeh K. Yumkella, and the Mayor of Kitakyushu, Kenji Kitahashi.  

Kitakyushu is Japan’s first Eco-Town project. It originated in 1997 within Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and was based on the concept of “zero emissions”. Kitakyushu has adopted a collective measure for treatment of Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) by using a new area-wide concept called Eco-Towns, which is based on complete POPs wastes management and recycling including segregation, collection, treatment and disposal (zero waste).

POPs are chemical substances that persist in the environment, bioaccumulate through the food chain, and pose a risk of causing adverse effects to human health and the environment. With the evidence of long-range transport of these substances to regions where they have never been used or produced and the consequent threats they pose to the environment of the whole globe, the international community has called for urgent global actions to reduce and or eliminate releases of these chemicals.

“Technologies for destruction of POPs are new, innovative and expensive. Japan is the only country in Asia that has solved almost all POPs destruction problems. This is why Kitakyushu today is without doubt one of the greenest cities in the world,” said Yumkella.
He added that developing countries would greatly benefit from acquiring the waste recycling and destruction technologies used in Kitakyushu.

UNIDO plans to send decision-makers, engineers and technicians to be trained in Kitakyushu Eco-town concept, and organize site visits to the recycling industry. The City Council of Kitakyushu will cover the costs of training and help set up the concept of Eco-Towns in developing countries.

“By transferring modern technology to developing countries, we are helping them comply with the legally binding requirements of the Stockholm Conventions Persistent Organic Pollutants,” added Yumkella.

He said that such technology transfer could be funded from the Global Environment Facility (GEF), which unites 182 member governments — in partnership with international institutions, nongovernmental organizations, and the private sector — to address global environmental issues.

Yumkella also visited Sharp Corporation’s “Green Front Sakai” complex and met with Sharp management to learn about latest technologies in photovoltaic and to discuss possibilities for collaboration in developing countries.

During his three-day official visit to Japan, UNIDO Director-General will meet with Government officials, take part in a seminar on the potential and business opportunities in Africa at the United Nations University in Tokyo, speak at the Keizai Doyukai (the Japan Association of Corporative Executives) and present the latest report of the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Advisory Group on Energy and Climate Change (AGECC) at the Foreign Press Club.

For more information, please contact:

Mikhail Evstafyev, UNIDO press secretary
Tel: +43-699-1459-7329

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