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SADC member states welcome the introduction of new efficient lighting standards

28 June 2021


WINDHOEK, 18 June 2021 – Efficient electricity use in homes, businesses and public facilities is one of the fastest and cheapest ways of accelerating sustainable development. The Energy Efficient Lighting and Appliances (EELA) project, implemented by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) aims to support the development of vibrant markets for energy efficient lighting and appliances across East and Southern Africa.

The project took a major step forward at the end of April when the Southern African Development Community Cooperation in Standardisation (SADCSTAN) Executive Committee reviewed and approved Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS) for lighting products.

This important decision was preceded by a regional consultation process that lasted several months. A series of online meetings were held with the SADCSTAN Regional Technical Committee to discuss technical notes, content and the selection of metrics for the draft MEPS for lighting. SADC member states’ input into the draft MEPS were a vital contribution that helped to strengthen the standards.

An endorsement of the concept was already visible in December 2020 at the regional finalization meeting, where all member states attending indicated they would vote to adopt the draft harmonized regional MEPS for lighting. Romana Marunda, SADCSTAN Chairperson, said that “the SADCSTAN looks forward to future collaboration under this programme in the work on hand for MEPS on air conditioning and refrigeration appliances. We also urge the SADC member states to adopt the harmonized standards in their respective countries. These deliverables will go a long way in demonstrating SADCSTAN's relevance in driving the regional agenda.”

MEPS are used by regulators to make sure that products meet certain specified criteria related to energy performance, quality of service and longevity. They are used by countries around the world as an effective way of encouraging suppliers to develop and deliver quality, energy-efficient products. Thus, MEPS are one of the key policy options used to accelerate market transformation to energy-efficient and climate friendly appliances, and protect markets from becoming dumping grounds for products and appliances rejected elsewhere.

Particularly important is the development and implementation of MEPS at the regional level, as it can overcome significant barriers to efficient trade. If the policies are developed in a harmonized manner, trade barriers can be reduced between countries, implementation costs can be decreased, such as through shared testing laboratories, and best practices and lessons learned can be shared among countries on national implementation.

Besides this, harmonized standards have multiple advantages. Kudakwashe Ndhlukula, SACREEE Executive Director, stated that “in the long-term, standardized approaches in all countries can also contribute to consumers saving money on their electricity bills, and increase industrial productivity and competitiveness, as well as reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.”

The standards are an important milestone in the realization of the decree adopted by SADC Energy Ministers to phase out inefficient lighting. This major step is in line with one of the key outputs of the Energy Efficient Lighting and Appliances (EELA) project implemented by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), in co-operation with the East African Centre of Excellence for Renewable Energy and Efficiency (EACREEE) and the SADC Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (SACREEE). The project is funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida).

Rana Ghoneim, Chief of the Energy Systems and Infrastructure Division at UNIDO said, “UNIDO actively supports the strengthening of regional and inter-regional collaboration to accelerate the energy and climate transformation. The adoption of a harmonized standards across the SADC region is a perfect example of the impact that such collaboration can offer. The standards will be an essential element in the long-term development of dynamic markets for energy-efficient lighting and appliances in Southern Africa.”

Note: The MEPS have been assigned the following reference number - SADC HT 109:2021.

For enquiries or more information, please contact:

Kain Reiss, Programme Coordinator for the Energy Efficiency Lighting and Appliances project.