An independent team evaluated the NCPC Programme comprehensively in 2007. This was done under the guidance of a steering committee comprised of the UN agencies and key programme donors (Governments of Switzerland, Austria and Norway). Directors and other key staff of NCPCs were also extensively consulted. The evaluation set out to determine the success of the UNIDO-UNEP NCPC Programme as a global CP capacity building programme, implemented in parallel in the then 37 programme countries. It included self assessments by all NCPCs and independent reviews in 18 countries. The evaluation found that the Programme had been especially successful in:
• Putting CP on the agenda of businesses and government;
• Training of professional CP auditors;
• Implementation of, in particular, low and intermediate cost technology options in assisted companies; and
• Policy change and technology transfer in several countries.
Taking into consideration the ambitious goals and extensive geographic, industry sector and thematic differences within the Programme, the evaluation team found that the Programme had been highly relevant and sustainable. There was, however, also room for improvement especially in regard to increasing the effectiveness and efficiency of the implementation of the programme.
Key lessons learned included:
• CP is of continued and rising relevance, as a result of several trends, including: worsening industrial pollution and high industrial resource use; Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) entering into force; globalization and trade liberalization; and buyer pressure.
• NCPCs are appropriate for CP capacity building, but institutional development and positioning of NCPCs amidst other business services providers in their home countries deserved greater attention.
• There was a trade off between the financial independence of NCPCs and the sustained impact of the Programme.
• The NCPC programme has a great potential. The predominantly country-based funding strategy had, however, not been conducive to networking, knowledge management and learning, between NCPCs operating in different countries and regions. Moreover, the potential for cooperation and leverage with other initiatives was not fully exploited.
The evaluation confirmed that in 2007 the Programme was in its ‘youth’ stage. NCPCs had been established and were undertaking relevant CP and CP-related activities, albeit at a limited scale. A richness of experiences and expertise was documented and solid progress could be confirmed, in particular, in awareness creation, training and capacity building and plant-level demonstrations. The Programme displayed great potential for effectively capturing and disseminating best practices amongst NCPCs.
Thereby it could make a more substantive contribution to improving resource productivity and environmental performance of businesses in the Programme countries. This urgently required a consistent Programme strategy that would be impact-focused, deliver and value excellence and take due account of the specific situations of the host countries. A strategic approach could drive the institutionalization, positioning and profiling of NCPCs as change agents for sustainable industrial development in their home countries.
UNIDO and UNEP are committed to realize the greater potential of the NCPCs as foreshadowed in the independent evaluation. A joint programme strategy was formulated for an expanded programme on Resource Efficient and Cleaner Production that aims to scale-up and mainstream CP applications for the triple benefits of improved resource productivity, enhanced environmental performance and safer and responsible production.