UNIDO’s Energy and Climate Change Branch carries out GEF-supported projects under the climate change mitigation cluster that focus on: providing access of the poor to rural energy for economic use, with emphasis on renewable energy; increasing productivity and competitiveness by improving industrial energy efficiency; and reducing emissions of greenhouse gases through capacity building projects designed in conformity with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
The Environmental Management Branch continues to expand its GEF portfolio related to chemicals and international waters by providing technical and capacity building support in: cleaner and sustainable production; POPs management and disposal; and water management, with emphasis on water resource utilization, sustainable use of trans-boundary river basins, wetlands, coastal zones and large marine ecosystems, and recovery and sustainable management of industrial fisheries.
Another significant component of the UNIDO-GEF portfolio is the work of the Montreal Protocol Branch, which provides technical assistance and institutional support in the management and destruction of ozone-depleting substances (ODS) in countries with economies in transition.
Under the Climate Change Adaptation focal area, UNIDO’s Agri-Business Development Branch aims to assist countries in increasing the resilience and reducing post-harvest losses in agribusiness value and supply chains which will make a vital contribution to adapting to the impacts of increasing weather variability, frequency of extreme events and longer term predicted climate changes, which in most cases are already reducing crop yields and increasing yield variability.
The UNIDO-GEF portfolio in its entirety benefits from the Organization’s ability to engage small and medium-size enterprises in its projects, as well as from projects which address multiple issues, such as initiatives that promote synergies between measures related to climate change and efforts to phase out harmful chemicals. UNIDO is also seeking to link its GEF projects with the Organization’s other priority – Creating Shared Prosperity – where its GEF-funded initiatives regarding Safeguarding the Environment have the potential of positive spillover effects in the pursuit of the overall objectives of inclusive and sustainable industrial development.
The way forward and sustainable industrial development
UNIDO will continue its efforts in tackling the underlying drivers of environmental degradation and helping countries to safeguard their environment, while delivering on the Organization’s core mandate of inclusive and sustainable industrial development.
Natural resource depletion, environmental degradation, climate change, biodiversity loss, pollution of international waters, and depletion of the ozone layer continue to threaten the global environment. At the same time, poverty eradication, spreading the benefits of globalization and making it work for the poor, and managing the transition to a sustainable, low-carbon path of development, while achieving universal access to energy, remain challenges that need to be addressed if progress is to be made towards meeting the Millennium Development Goals and as part of the post-2015 development agenda. Responding to these challenges will continue to be a major item on the global development agenda, and in this respect, new technologies, innovative methodologies, green industries, and solid financial mechanisms need to be developed for both rural and urban communities.
The key is to enhance the existing international mechanisms for the development and dissemination of technologies, to remove barriers, and to provide predictable financial resources and other incentives for scaling up investment in environmentally sound technologies around the world, especially in developing countries and countries with economies in transition. It is here that the multilateral system has a central role to play in bringing countries together and building consensus on norms and standards that all states can adhere to for their common good. In this respect, the need to cooperate with a multitude of partners plays an ever-increasing role for UNIDO in addressing these complex issues. Such partners range from national government entities to industry associations and from multilateral organizations to bilateral agencies.
UNIDO has long recognized that environmental issues must be addressed and cleaner production methodologies must be promoted at a systemic level in industrial development. The promotion of resource efficiency and cleaner production requires a perspective and a decision-making process that simultaneously consider economic value and environmental sustainability. Industry, as the prime producer of goods and services that societies consume, has a critical role to play.
The Green Industry concept, with its focus on the elimination or significant reduction of the dependence on hydrocarbon fuels, toxins, and equipment and processes that generate greenhouse gases, is one of the adequate answers that UNIDO has developed and promotes in its global forum and technical cooperation activities.
Relying on its technical expertise, UNIDO will continue to attend to these global challenges. Continued UNIDO-GEF cooperation will allow both organizations to further help countries around the world strive to find a viable balance between the pursuit of prosperity and sound environmental stewardship.