Boosting energy efficiency in South African industry in the face of economy-threatening energy shortages and promoting environmentally-friendly production in Tunisia are the focus of two new United Nations projects signed today.
The Swiss Government will help fund the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) projects under the accord signed in Bern, the Swiss capital.
“South Africa’s energy intensive industry was developed based on abundant and cheap energy resources,” UNIDO Director-General Kandeh K. Yumkella said of the project that will help put in place energy management standards, ensure their adoption by industries at large and achieve a significant shift in energy practices by introducing a system optimization approach.
“But in 2008, the country experienced an energy crisis with frequent blackouts. The energy shortages directly threaten the growth rate in the country and the region. Taking advantage of its experience UNIDO will contribute to a substantial improvement of energy efficiency in industry.”
The Swiss Government will contribute €2 million, while the South African Government will give another €5 million to the project, which will also lead to significant reduction of carbon dioxide emissions and, at the same time, increase the competitiveness of industries.
A separate €1.5 million project, financed by Switzerland, will focus on promoting environmentally-friendly production in Tunisia. It will help increase the competitiveness of small- and medium-sized enterprises, and support the development of a regional network of such centres in the Middle East and North Africa.
The project is aligned with a new programme that UNIDO is carrying out in cooperation with the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), and will contribute to UNIDO’s Green Industry initiative, which aims to create national capacities in cleaner production, strengthen dialogue between industry and governments, and promote investments for development and transfer of cleaner technology.
UNIDO is a specialized UN agency promoting industrial development for poverty reduction, inclusive globalization and environmental sustainability.