Results from MED TEST II pave the way for a national cleaner production center in Palestine
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Characterized by an entrepreneurial spirit and a unique geographical location, the economy of Palestine could, under normal conditions, have developed towards a bright future. But wide-ranging political and economic constraints, restricted access to natural resources, and harsh restraints on the import and exports of goods have had grave impacts on the development of the country also jeopardizing the competitiveness of Palestinian businesses. Therefore, any step that could help transform the economy and industry in using natural resources, including land, water and energy, more efficiently, would not only affect the future development of the economy but also enable a much-needed re-distribution of resources to other parts of the society. But moving the society towards the benefits of a green economy requires the involvement of all actors, especially the industry.
Since 2015, UNIDO together with the Palestine Academy for Science and Technology (PALAST) have showcased the significant potential for resource efficient and cleaner production in the Palestinian food sector. Applying the UNIDO TEST methodology, which is an integrated methodology that helps to enhance productivity by integrating practices and technology that lead to greater efficiency in the production, 10 companies in Palestine were able to receive training and guidance on how to set up an in-house system of monitoring and analysis of resource flows. The MED TEST II project was able to identify 92 improvement measures in the 10 participating companies, identifying savings in water, energy and raw materials to a value of 2.4 million euros.
For example, Palestine Gardens, a date producer in the Jericho Valley, identified through the project measures that would reduce the annual energy consumption by 24%. Measures such as better insulation for the cooling systems, paired with improved light systems and installing a photovoltaic system, that would not only cover their own energy demand but also produce excess energy for sale, would yield into 105,000 euro in annual savings for the company.
Realizing that there is an untapped potential in resource efficiency that could reduce production costs and make Palestinian products more competitive on the local market and also raise their export potential, was not only an eye opener for the companies, but also for Palestine’s institutions. One of the long-term objectives of the MED TEST II project is to build local capacities, know-how, and expertise that can continue support local industries in Palestine to become more resource efficient. As a consequence of the project, the Palestinian Federation of Industries has decided to establish The Palestinian Centre for Cleaner Production (PCCP) that will continue support industries in to adapt a resource efficient and cleaner production (RECP).
Advancing a nationwide adoption of RECP would not only assist the country in managing the balance between reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities, and assist the country to develop without degrading the environment. But before applying the RECP concept to other Palestinian industry sectors assessment of the available resources and capacities is required.
UNIDO together with the government, and civil society organizations, have during the MED TEST II project developed a roadmap on how to integrate and scale up the RECP concept to other companies and sectors. Based on these consultations the roadmap presents the various pathways, relevant institutions, available resources and platforms, and previous and ongoing programs, which could support the adoption of a more resource efficient production in Palestine.