The GEIPP Ukraine Project is implemented by UNIDO and financially supported by Switzerland through the State Secretariate of Economic Affairs (SECO). Why did Switzerland decide to invest in the development of Eco-Industrial Parks in Ukraine; What are the expected outcomes; and how does SECO evaluates the Project’s activities in Ukraine. Kindly read answers to these questions in the interview with Priska Depnering, Deputy Head of Cooperation, Embassy of Switzerland in Ukraine.
Question: Ms. Priska, the topic of Eco-Industrial Parks is new both to the world and to Ukraine. Today there are 250 EIPs globally, mainly in the developed countries. Since Ukraine is a country with a developing economy, what has motivated Switzerland to invest in the development of EIPs in Ukraine?
Answer: The State Secretariat for Economic Affairs of Swiss Confederation (SECO) has been active in the field of resource efficiency and cleaner production methods for twenty years in around 60 countries worldwide, including over 40 of them with developing economies, including Ukraine. The final evaluation of the SECO-funded Resource Efficiency and Cleaner Production (RECP) Programme found that the program was relevant to the countries’ priorities and enterprises it served. In order to become more effective, GEIPP will foster a broader application of RECP methods and tools by focussing on the greening of industrial parks and by seeking to integrate support at the enterprise and park scales and address critical policy issues.
Industrial Parks are common in many developing and advanced-developing countries and make an important contribution to the national gross domestic product. However, the applied production and management methods in those parks, as well as the national legal framework, are often neither resource-efficient nor productive. This situation is very similar in Ukraine. Of the registered 45 parks, only 8 are operational and all of them are still lacking the industrial symbiosis and an inclusive approach bringing together economic, ecological, and social aspects. Therefore, GEIPP will step in showing the potential for having a comprehensive approach and by showcasing concrete and context-specific solutions.
Question: Does Switzerland support similar projects in developing countries? If yes, which ones and how can serve as exemplary to Ukraine?
Answer: Yes, with the Global Eco-Industrial Parks Programme Switzerland supports similar projects in seven countries, including Ukraine, Colombia, Egypt, Indonesia, Peru, Vietnam, and South Africa. To build sustainable Eco-Industrial Parks, first of all, broad consultations between different stakeholders need to be conducted. Columbia advanced with this by establishing the so-called Community of Practice (CoP), reuniting a broad list of stakeholders and that became a very efficient vehicle for generating concrete proposals that address the gaps in the institutional framework and showcase the benefits of EIP to Industrial Parks and companies. The CoP is aligned with the Colombian National Circular Economy Strategy.
There is no National Circular Economy Strategy in Ukraine yet. However, Ukraine is following the European green course and the UN Sustainable Development Agenda 2030, where eco-industrial parks fit very well. Learning on the Colombian example and adapting it to Ukrainian needs, the GEIPP Ukraine aims to establish the policy Working Group and the Advisory Board that will help to join efforts of various stakeholders, including government, private sector, academia, and international organizations.
Question: The GEIPP-Ukraine Project started last year. How do you evaluate its activities and progress? What are major implementation gaps in your opinion?
Answer: It is too early to talk about achievements as such. The project has been running for only half a year. However, during this short period of time, good foundations were laid to achieve the targeted future results. In particular, the political component of the project has been actively advancing: the main stakeholders are identified and over 30 existing national policies have been analyzed. These helped to reveal gaps in the legislative framework and at the same time to identify the potential for EIP policy-making. Soon, with the assistance of the Ministry of Economy, a Policy Working Group will be set up to close the legislation gap, maintaining inclusive participation of the Ministry of Economy and the Ministry of Environment and other national, regional, and local institutions. We hope for insightful discussions and constructive conclusions of this Policy Working Group in the future. A very recent Project’s achievement, which was realized in cooperation with the Ministry of Economy, is the inclusion of the EIP in the Economic Development Strategy of Ukraine 2030.
There are two main gaps identified by the Project – different stakeholders have different views regarding the development of eco-industrial parks and frequently changing ministerial leadership. Therefore, the Policy Working Group and the Advisory Board have to be established to exchange among different stakeholders, to come to a common objective, to raise awareness, and to keep everybody updated about context developments. One more challenge that the Project faced during the last year was the COVID-19 restrictions that delayed the operational start of the project. However, this is a challenge for all of us and the project has found good solutions to work around it and to offer training and workshops on digital platforms.
Question: What Project outcomes do you expect in the result?
Answer: While it is uncontested that RECP methods are an important ingredient for a more sustainable and climate-friendly way of production, their broad deployment, and effective use have yet to happen. Supporting the RECP Centers, we observed the tons and kilotons of resources saved and emissions avoided at the enterprise level. However, this still does not match the need to avoid emissions in terms of mega- and giga-tons. Therefore, approaches which foster a quicker and more widespread uptake of RECP methods and techniques are key. Working on a more scalable model with groups of enterprises located in industrial parks provides a good starting point to have a bigger leverage effect of our intervention. , RECP is one of the key instruments supported by Switzerland in the frame of its development cooperation and promotion of Sustainable Cities in Ukraine, with the purpose to accelerate low-carbon economic growth and improve the quality of life for people in urban areas in support of the achievements of SDG 11.