Kandeh K. Yumkella,
Director-General,
UNIDO
 
21 October 2009 – Boosting energy efficiency in South African industry in the face of economy-threatening energy shortages is the focus of this new United Nations project which was signed on 20 October 2009.

The Swiss Government has agreed to help fund the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) project signed under the accord in Bern, Switzerland.

“South Africa’s energy intensive industry was developed based on abundant and cheap energy resources,” UNIDO Director-General Kandeh K. Yumkella said of this project that will help to establish energy management standards and ensure their adoption by industries. A significant shift in energy practices could potentially be introduced by 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 and the South African Government will give another €5 million to the project with the aim to achieve significant reduction of carbon dioxide emissions and increase the overall competitiveness of industries.

The project is aligned with a new program that UNIDO is carrying out in cooperation with the UN Environment Program (UNEP), and will contribute to UNIDO’s Green Industry initiative. The initiative’s aim is to create national capacities in cleaner production, strengthen dialogue between industry and governments, and promote investments for development and transfer of cleaner technology.

UNIDO, as a specialized UN agency for the promotion of industrial development, the reduction of poverty, and global environmental sustainability, recognizes the importance of green initiatives as a means of securing the long-term viable economic development of the African continent.