EU4Environment: Two Free Economic Zones in the Republic of Moldova receive approval for Eco-Industrial Parks feasibility

Over the last ten years, substantial progress has been recorded by the Republic of Moldova for achieving its green growth goals. These efforts go hand in hand with the promotion of Eco-Industrial Parks (EIP). As a concept, Eco-Industrial Parks (EIP) are communities of manufacturing and service businesses, located together on a common property, where member businesses collaborate to manage environmental and resource issues, and to enhance their performances.

By definition, the integration of Environment friendly Industrial Parks fosters green production policies (as in the case of waste recycling and resource efficiency) and improves the economic cohesion and competitiveness of manufacturing enterprises (as well as the welfare of the workers and surrounding local communities).[1] In Moldova, the two industrial zones, selected to take part in the UNIDO-led EIP feasibility assessment are the Free Economic Zone (FEZ) Valkaneș and the Industrial Park (IP) Tracom.

In this sense, EU4Environment brings the concept of EIP closer to the Republic of Moldova by conducting two robust workshops for both IP Tracom and FEZ Valkaneș in mid-July 2021 under the framework of the EU-funded EU4Environment Action. The purpose of these events is to raise awareness about the approaches and advantages of creating an Eco-Industrial Park (EIP), the best practices to increase resource efficiency through the resource efficient and cleaner production (RECP) methodology, and how to best promote and enhance industrial symbiosis. The first technical visits for both locations will also be organized to establish working relations with sites’ management and technical staff, making site tours, and presenting the EIP methodology to the relevant stakeholders. This process will provide a comprehensive overview of the existing business structures and help understand the key infrastructures and practices in the zones.

With the technical support provided by UNIDO, the feasibility studies will take place in the two plots. The purpose of the feasibility studies is for the international EIP expert of UNIDO to undertake EIP assessments, and to apply the EIP international framework (developed jointly by UNIDO, WBG and GIZ). This way, both FEZ Valkaneș and IP Tracom will be reviewed against the international framework to identify and prioritize opportunities to further enhance their economic, environmental, and social performance. Once the assessment visits are completed, in a later stage, training and tailored workshops on resource efficient and cleaner production (RECP) and on industrial synergies are envisioned for the tenant companies and the FEZ/IP administrations.

The online workshops will include targeted exercises with companies to identify opportunities to improve their production processes (including in the streamline of water, energy, and waste). This way, enterprises can better seize opportunities for industrial synergy and environment priorities in the region and maximize socio-economic and environmental benefits.

Similar endeavours are also taking place in two other members of the EU4Environment Action, the Free Economic Zones in Belarus, and the Eco-Industrial Parks in Ukraine.

Whilst the online workshops (scheduled for 12-13 July for IP Tracom and 15-16 July for FEZ Valkaneș)

mainly focus on the tenant companies and representatives of the administrations of the IP Tracom and FEZ Valkaneș (as well as on managers and specialists of the resident enterprises), two open sessions were dedicated to the introduction of Eco-Industrial Parks (EIP) for the general public.

IP Tracom is situated in the Buiucani district of Chișinău. For more details about the Industrial Park, please visit: https://tracom.md/en/

FEZ Valkaneș has its headquarters in the city of Vulcănești, located in the southern part of the Republic of Moldova, at the interface between Moldova, Romania, and Ukraine. For more information about the FEZ Valkaneș, please visit: http://freezone-valcanes.md/en/

Background information

What is an EIP?

In general, an eco-industrial park is a community of manufacturing and service-based businesses which are located together and operate on a common property. The member businesses then seek enhanced environmental, economic, and social performance through collaboration in managing environmental and resource issues. By working together, the community of businesses seeks a collective benefit that is greater than the sum of individual benefits each company would realize by only optimizing its individual performance. Overall, there are more than 300 eco-industrial parks in the world, most of which being created by modernizing existing industrial zones. The most famous examples of eco-industrial parks are the Port of Rotterdam (Netherlands), Knapsack Chemical Industrial Park (Germany), Ulsan Miro-Onsan Industrial Park (South Korea), Keystone Industrial Port Complex (USA), Kaiserbarac Industrial Park (Belgium), and Tianjin District of Economic and technological development (China), to name a few.

On the global level, the concept of EIP is promoted by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the World Bank Group, and Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (German Development Cooperation) (GIZ) GmbH. In order to converge different approaches to the standard degree of eco-industrial parks used at the national levels, in 2017, these organizations prepared an International Framework for Eco-industrial Parks, where they defined the qualitative and quantitative characteristics of such constructs.[1]

These criteria help consider the existing Industrial Parks (IPs) and Free (special) Economic Zones (FEZ) as potential objects for the creation of eco-industrial parks in Moldova. The eco-industrial parks feasibility study falls under the implementation process of the EU4Environment Action in Moldova. The Action is funded by the European Union and implemented in this area by UNIDO, supported in delivery by International EIP Experts from Sofies as well as National IP and RECP experts. In accordance with the national action plan for the implementation of the EU4Environment Action and in agreement with the Ministry of Economy and Infrastructure and Ministry of Agriculture, Regional Development and Environment in Moldova, IP Tracom and FEZ Valkanes are designated as pilot territories for testing and introducing the methodological elements of an eco-industrial park.

Why are EIP relevant in today’s socio-economic context?

Industrial parks and free economic zones have long proved to be an effective tool for attracting investments and advancing regional development. At the same time, their means of operation, despite the obvious economic and social benefits (increase in production volumes, increase of exports, the creation of new jobs, etc.), have also led to negative outcomes – a significant anthropogenic load on the environment, high risk of man-made disasters, the possible deterioration of living conditions for the local population, etc. To recognize the need to address these issues and achieve the goals of sustainable development, a number of developed countries such as Denmark, France, Japan, the Republic of Korea and others have included the creation of eco-industrial parks on the agendas of their national industrial policies.

Contact

For more information about the EIP feasibility activities conducted in Moldova, please contact Ms. Tatiana Chernyavskaya, the EU4Environment Project Coordinator at UNIDO.

[1] Source: https://www.unido.org/unido-industrial-parks

 

Published on July 13, 2021

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