Tuesday, June 18, 2013

EU-funded SWITCH-Asia Programme hosts networking event

Under SWITCH-Asia Programme the European Union (EU) is supporting Asian countries by promoting Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) practices to fulfil the increasing demand for goods and services.
The SWITCH-Asia Programme was launched in 2007, and it is the single largest EU-funded regional programme to support the implementation and scaling-up of
Sustainable Consumption and Production practices in Asia. It aims to contribute towards sustainable growth and poverty reduction. The programme provides funding opportunities of €150 million over the period 2007-2013.
Some 64 SWITCH-Asia projects across Asia have been funded to reduce Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions, introduce cleaner production technologies, and establish green procurement processes or eco-labels. The Programme has an innovative three support components: grant projects, Network Facility and Policy Support Component.
SWITCH-Asia programme promotes a wide variety of good practices to help to save material and add value to products and services. It promotes less polluting technologies, healthy products and services that can earn consumers’ trust and develop responsible corporate practices.
Nepal has been a key focus of the SWITCH-Asia programme.
Currently, there are four on-going projects in the country including Lead paint
elimination (chemical sector, cleaner production); Sustainable and
efficient industrial development (environmental management systems); Vertical shaft brick kiln and SCP (sustainable construction practices); and Green homes: promoting sustainable housing in Nepal.
Nowadays, the total funding of the EU to these projects is Euro6.2 Million and new projects are under evaluation by the EU.
Addressing the opening session of the networking event, head of the Delegation of the European Union to Nepal ambassador Alexander Spachis, said that the EU had always been at the forefront to tackle the problems related to excessive energy consumption, environmental degradation, and finally impacts of climate change.
“The SWITCH-Asia Programme is one of the most successful initiatives undertaken by the EU to promote sustainable production and consumption in Asia,” he added.
Minister for Energy, Science, Technology, Environment, and Irrigation Umakanta Jha, on the occasion, said that everyone needs to act as a united force to combat the problems associated with energy use, environmental degradation and finally climate change impacts as it is a common problem.
Likewise, secretary of the Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment Keshab Prasad Bhattarai said that the ministry has always been committed to make a switch to a sustainable green economy. “It will therefore look closely into the projects implemented in the country and will make the necessary policy level interventions in order to improve the environment,” he said.
The major objective of the Networking Event will be presenting the state of play of the programme. Project experts from 10 European countries and 17 Asian ones will provide insights on technical implementation, on the projects' functioning, and on their impacts.
The event will also facilitate exchanging views and experiences among SWITCH-Asia projects regarding effective replication of
Sustainable Consumption and Production, and fostering synergies with policy-makers and other relevant stakeholders engaged in Sustainable Consumption and Production.

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