Principal Achievements

Individually and collectively, the NCPCs have produced valuable outputs and outcomes at various levels. The resulting tapestry of CP success stories, policies, methods and practices is diverse and rich. The following selection provides an impression of the types of principal achievements. These are illustrated with selected examples from some of the NCPCs.

Programme Level

Since its launch in 1994, the Programme has supported capacity development in 47 developing and transition countries. In each of these countries, national experts have been trained, in plant assessments completed and CP results and experiences disseminated. In addition, an institutional platform for ongoing service delivery and CP promotion was created, typically through a NCPC but in some countries through other mechanisms.

The Programme has fostered close cooperation between the two lead UN agencies. UNIDO assumed prime responsibility for establishing NCPCs and supporting them with the implementation of CP in enterprises. UNEP worked with different groups of NCPCs to develop and trial new management tools, policy instruments and applications. These included, sustainable product development and the integration of CP with energy efficiency. Both UNIDO and UNEP collaborated individually and collectively with other multilateral agencies and financial institutions in specific areas. Joint activities have focused on Corporate Social Responsibility (for example with the International Labor Organization), technology transfer (for example with the UN Climate Change Secretariat) and finance (for example with the International Finance Corporation).

The Programme has benefitted from long term commitments from development partners and it has resulted in the creation of the RECPnet. The Governments of Switzerland and Austria have provided the largest shares of programme resources through the UN agencies. Several other countries have made further essential contributions, including Norway, Italy, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Spain, France and the European Union. Moreover, several multilateral programmes (e.g. UNDP, World Bank, Global Environment Facility) and bilateral cooperation projects (e.g. Sweden, Denmark, USA and Germany) have directly utilized selected NCPCs at country-level.

Regional level

The NCPCs have started to collaborate regionally to capture knowledge, share information and resources, and foster learning.  The newly created RECPnet is promoting further regionalization and cooperation among RECP providers through regional chapters  in Africa, Arab, Asia-Pacific, Europe and Latin American regions.

In Latin America, CPLatinNet has been created to bring together cleaner production centres that had been established under the UNIDO-UNEP Programme and through other bilateral initiatives. Twelve countries participate and have implemented joint activities. A key element is the knowledge management system, developed with funding support from the Governments of Switzerland and Austria, which provides easy access to CP expertise in the region (
In Africa, NCPCs lead the process of regional institutionalization of Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP). The NCPCs have been instrumental in the creation of the Africa Roundtable for Sustainable Consumption and Production (ARSCP). The Cleaner Production Centre of Tanzania provides its executive secretariat. The ARSCP developed the African 10 Year Framework Programme on SCP, which was approved by the African Ministerial Council on Environment (AMCEM). This includes activities in four priority areas: energy; water and sanitation; habitat and sustainable urban development; and industrial development. Furthermore, the NCPCs in Egypt and Mozambique have developed pilot SCP plans for cities.

Similarly, NCPCs in Asia supported and facilitated the Asia Pacific Roundtable for Sustainable Consumption and Production (APRSCP). Furthermore, NPCPs and other institutions in nine Asian countries collaborated in a three year project that demonstrated the application of CP methods for achieving energy savings and Greenhouse Gas (GHG) reductions in five sectors: pulp and paper; cement; iron and steel; chemicals and ceramics. The GHG emission reductions were verified for 38 demonstration plants and cumulated to just over 1 million ton CO2-eq per annum (

National level

The NCPCs are initially set up in a national institution, for example, a university, technical institute or industry association. Over time, they are expected to become financially and administratively independent from the UNIDO-UNEP Programme. This has already been achieved in about half of the Programme countries. A separate legal entity for the NCPC is highly desirable, with buy-in from government, business sector and civil society. A diversity of institutional arrangements has emerged. The Viet Nam NCPC, for example, has transformed from being a centre in the Hanoi University of Technology, into an independent enterprise, owned by the University and staff of the NCPC. In Slovakia, the NCPC split into two separate legal entities that cooperate intensively, to cater best to the dual role of service delivery to individual enterprises and public advocacy, training and information dissemination. The NCPC in South Africa (achieved autonomy by means of a strong executive committee with the participation of government and business sector, while continuing to be part of its host institution, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).

Complementary to their own institutionalization, NCPCs have contributed to policy change in their respective home countries. The China NCPC spearheaded the China CP Promotion Law. Adopted in 2003, this Law has created a system of mandatory CP audits for polluting enterprises and sector-specific CP technical guidelines. In Sri Lanka, the NCPC contributed to the National CP Strategy which places responsibility on all line ministries to develop and implement CP strategies.

Enterprise level

NCPCs work with enterprises and other organizations to identify, evaluate and implement CP options, through in-plant assessments. Assisted enterprises have typically implemented at least the low, or even no, cost options. This has yielded savings on costs for energy, materials, chemicals and waste and effluent management, whilst also reducing the environmental impacts. The further implementation of higher cost and advanced technology options depends on access to technology and finance. The following examples from Kenya, Peru and Sri Lanka illustrate enterprise level benefits.

Selected Enterprise Level Achievements

Kenya Peru Sri Lanka
Chandaria Industries Ltd. produces paper and tissue products and, with the assistance of the NCPC in Kenya, implemented a programme to incease waste water recovery and recycling. It achieved a 25% reduction in energy consumption, 50% reduction in water consumption and 60% reduction of waste and of waste water. This achieved annual savings in excess of USD 600,000, with negligible total investment. Metalexacto is a small lead foundry. The implementation of several CP options, suggested by the NCPC in Peru, reduced the lead content in waste by 19%, enabled the recovery of nearly 350 tons lead per annum and decreased water and energy consumption. Total GHG emissions were reduced by 270 ton annually. Investment costs were low and recovered within several months. Rathkerewwa Desiccated Coconut Mill, with the assistance of the NCPC in Sri Lanka, decreased waste output by 18 tons. Its also achieved considerable reductions in water and energy use. Total GHG emissions were reduced by almost 1,000 tons annually. This resulted in annual savings of more than USD 315,000 from an investment of less than USD 17,000.

 With funding from the Government of Switzerland, several NCPCs including Colombia and Viet Nam established green credit lines for the implementation of higher cost CP options in small and medium industries. These credit lines include an incentive grant payable upon confirmation of achieved environmental benefits and a loan guarantee scheme. In Colombia, this green credit line financed, for example, the conversion from chemical to mechanical pre-treatment in a metal rolling mill and the introduction of water and energy efficient dyeing equipment in a textile company.
Other NCPCs have assisted with the adaptation and adoption of innovative Environmentally Sound Technologies (ESTs). In Morocco, for example, the NCPC pioneered the two-phase pressing of olives to achieve higher oil recovery, recover olive pressings as fuel and eliminate waste water and waste.

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