On 7th July 2021, UNIDO launched a series of online internal regional meetings with the Resource Efficient and Cleaner Production (RECP) experts of the six EaP countries as part of implementing the EU-funded EU4Environment Action.
This first meeting served as a platform for the National Coordinators (from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova, and Ukraine) and other members of the national RECP teams to share experiences regarding common issues and challenges for introducing resource efficiency in the context of their national conditions, as well as opportunities and ways to further implement RECP activities in the EaP region. The discussion was facilitated by UNIDO to create a basis for presenting the lessons learned and to continue scaling up cleaner production under EU4Environment.
The biggest challenges encountered region-wide have been those related to the temporary halt of activities caused by COVID-19, the increased national pressures to ban the production of (and curb the use of) single-use plastic, and the need to increase the digitalization of services (especially in Georgia and Ukraine), as well as advocacy efforts and partnerships with local Small and Medium Sized-Enterprises (SMEs).
The discussions also stretched towards opportunities and results, showcasing a regional consensus over how the participating SMEs recorded an increased economic boost for using RECP. The methodology has visibly helped enterprises save resources, improve efficiency and overall resilience, contributing to a faster recovery from the fallouts of the pandemic.
To showcase the milestones in which RECP is benefitting SMEs, publications of industry business cases have been released for Ukraine, and will follow for Armenia, Belarus, and Georgia. The results of monitoring the RECP implementation helped to identify the need of a more in-depth integration of RECP in SMEs as a systematic process for continuous improvement. Enabling conditions to upgrade RECP into the mid-term business strategy is also needed to ensure its continued implementation in SMEs.
The next internal regional meeting is scheduled on September the 3rd 2021, where the RECP experts from the EaP countries are expected to discuss the means of embedding RECP into the business strategies of SMEs and propose modalities to keep the national institutional memory and incentives for SMEs to continue using RECP beyond the EU4Environment Action.