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    Evaluation of the global implementation of the UNIDO-UNEPNational Cleaner Production Centres (NCPC) Programme

    Rene Van Berkel

    Received: 21 September 2009 / Accepted: 12 January 2010 / Published online: 3 February 2010

    Springer-Verlag 2010

    Abstract Since 1994 UNIDO and UNEP cooperate in a

    Programme to establish National Cleaner Production

    Centres (NCPCs) in developing and transition countries.

    An evaluation was conducted in 2007 when the Programme

    covered 37 countries. The programme evaluation was

    based on three information sources: a review of Pro-

    gramme strategy and management; self-evaluation by

    NCPC directors; and independent reviews of 18 NCPCs. It

    was found that NCPCs had been successful in putting

    Cleaner Production (CP) on the agenda of business and

    government, training of professional staff, implementation

    of low and intermediate technology options in assisted

    companies and policy change in some countries. An overall

    assessment was made on six assessment criteria: relevance;

    effectiveness; efficiency; sustainability; capacity develop-

    ment; and ownership. Limitations in articulation and

    implementation of the Programme strategy, the complexity

    of inter-agency cooperation and diversity among Pro-

    gramme countries globally, had a somewhat negative

    impact on the programme assessment, which was regard-

    less on average satisfactory. It was concluded that the

    Programme had great potential, as relevance of CP was

    rising, due to worsening industrial pollution, resource

    scarcity, globalisation and resulting market pressure. The

    challenge remained to adapt to the changing interests and

    diversifying demands from governments and private sector


    Keywords Cleaner Production Eco-Efficiency Environmentally Sound Technology Capacitydevelopment Developing countries Transition economies


    Cleaner Production (CP) has been defined by UNEP as

    the continuous application of an integrated preventive

    environmental strategy to processes, products and services,

    to increase efficiency and reduce risks to humans and the

    environment (UNEP 1994b, p. 3). CP offers an opportu-

    nity for winwin solutions as companies reduce their

    operational costs and environmental and other liabilities by

    using less energy, water and materials, handling chemicals

    and their waste safely and generating less waste and pol-

    lutants. CP is commonly achieved through a diversity of

    practices, including good housekeeping, process and/or

    equipment modification, input material substitution, on-site

    reuse and recycling and change in products and/or tech-

    nologies (e.g., van Berkel 2007a, b). A number of related

    terms exist that for practical purposes can be considered as

    operational equivalents of CP, including for example Eco-

    Efficiency, Pollution Prevention, Green Productivity and

    Waste Minimisation (see e.g., USEPA 1992; DeSimione

    and Popoff 1997; APO 2002; Envirowise 2002; Van Berkel

    2007b). CP can be achieved through a range of prevention

    techniques, typically referred to as good housekeeping,

    technology modification, input substitution, product mod-

    ification and on-site reuse and recycling (USEPA 1988; de

    Hoo et al. 1991; UNIDO 2005).

    CP was first practiced in industrialised economies most

    notably in North America (e.g., OTA 1986; Hirshhorn and

    Oldenburg 1991; USEPA 1997) and Western Europe

    Rene Van Berkelformerly Eco-Innovation, Inglewood, Australia.

    R. Van Berkel (&)United Nations Industrial Development Organisation,

    P.O. Box 300, 1400 Vienna, Austria

    e-mail: r.vanberkel@unido.org

    URL: www.unido.org/cp


    Clean Techn Environ Policy (2011) 13:161175

    DOI 10.1007/s10098-010-0276-6

  • (e.g., Backman et al. 1991; Dieleman et al. 1991). How-

    ever, from the early 1990s onward, applications have been

    reported in developing countries and transitional econo-

    mies (see e.g., UNEP 1993, 1994a; van Berkel et al. 1994;

    UNIDO 1995; Gallup and Marcotte 2003; Staniskis and

    Arbaciauskas 2003)

    The United Nations Industrial Development Organisa-

    tion (UNIDO) and the United Nations Environment Pro-

    gramme (UNEP) collaborate in the promotion of CP (see

    www.unido.org/cp and www.unep.fr/scp/cp). Since 1994,

    UNIDO and UNEP cooperate specifically to establish and

    support National Cleaner Production Centres (NCPCs)1 in

    developing and transition economies with funding support

    from various donors, including the Governments of Swit-

    zerland, Austria, Norway, Italy, Denmark, The Nether-

    lands, Czech Republic and Slovenia. This is commonly

    referred to as the UNIDO-UNEP NCPC Programme. In the

    absence of a formal programme strategy, strictly speaking,

    this was rather a collection of mostly national and some

    multi-country projects. Moreover, the roles and responsi-

    bilities of both agencies were in no way equal or compa-

    rable in terms of finances, management and organisational

    mandate. UNIDO administered the establishment of

    NCPCs and managed the majority of the total resources

    available for the Programme. UNEP provided strategic

    inputs, primarily through separately funded multi-country

    projects on emerging topics [such as integration with

    energy efficiency (UNEP 2003), design for sustainability

    (UNEP 2006a) and Multilateral Environmental Agree-

    ments (MEAs; UNEP 2006b)] and also involved the

    NCPCs in its series of regional and global strategic

    dialogues in particular under the Marrakech Process on

    10-year frameworks of programmes on sustainable con-

    sumption and production (SCP) (UNEP 2009).

    At the Programmes inception, a NCPC was expected to

    be an entity within a national host institution (e.g., tech-

    nical institute, industry association or university) that

    would provide four basic types of CP services (UNEP and

    UNIDO 2002):

    1. Information dissemination and awareness raising:

    development and distribution of promotional materials

    and delivery of awareness seminars or workshops to

    put CP nationally on the agenda of government and the

    private sector;

    2. Training: delivery of training programmes to establish a

    cadre of CP professionals who could assist businesses

    and other organisations with CP implementation;

    3. CP assessments/in-plant demonstrations: technical

    assistance provision to companies and other organisa-

    tions for the identification, evaluation and implemen-

    tation of CP opportunities; and

    4. Policy advice: liaison with government and other key

    stakeholders to identify and adopt strategies and

    policies to foster uptake of CP by businesses and

    other organisations.

    Over time, the NCPC services have expanded, including

    in particular support for transfer of Environmentally Sound

    Technologies (ESTs) and investments therein. In its early

    establishment stage, each NCPC would essentially be a

    project management unit of UNIDO. Over time the NCPC

    would be expected to gradually become increasingly or-

    ganisationally and financially independent from UNIDO

    and UNEP. It would thereby evolve into a nationally

    directed provider of CP services to businesses, govern-

    ments and civil society.

    The first eight NCPCs were established in 1994/1995,

    respectively, in Brazil, China, Czech Republic, India,

    Mexico, Slovakia, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe. Upon their

    success, further NCPCs were established across the four

    main Programme Regions (respectively, African and Arab

    Region, Asia, Eastern Europe and Newly Independent

    States (NIS) and Latin America). In 2007, the Programme

    included activities in 37 countries: Armenia, Bolivia,

    Brazil, Cambodia, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia,

    Cuba, Czech Republic, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia,

    Guatemala, Honduras, Hungary, India, Kenya, Lao, Leba-

    non, Macedonia, Mexico, Morocco, Mozambique, Nicara-

    gua, Peru, Republic of Korea, Russia (two independently

    operating centres), Slovakia, South Africa, Sri Lanka,

    Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda, Uzbekistan, Vietnam and

    Zimbabwe. UNIDO and UNEP viewed their NCPC Pro-

    gramme as a cornerstone of their activities to foster sus-

    tainable industrial development and SCP in developing and

    transition countries.

    To establish a basis for strengthening their support to an

    expanding and diversifying network of NCPCs, UNIDO

    and UNEP agreed to undertake an independent programme

    evaluation, as per standards, criteria and methods com-

    monly used in development assistance evaluation (OECD

    2008).2 It would further build on specific CP programme

    1 In some countries, the establishment of a NCPC is preceded by a

    National Cleaner Production Programme (NCPP). As NCPCs and

    NCPPs have similar aims and objectives, and undertake similar

    activities, for ease of reference in this paper all are referred to as


    2 The Development Assistance Committee of OECD defined eval-

    uation as: the systematic and objective assessment of an ongoing or

    completed project, programme or policy, its design, implementation

    and results. The aim is to determine the relevance and fulfilment of

    objectives, development efficiency, effectiveness, impact and sus-

    tainability. An evaluation should provide information that is