UN backs Bahrain’s regional green hub goal
Manama, March 13, 2012
Bahrain may team up with the United Nations to become a regional hub for cleaner production services, said a senior UN official.
If approved the centre would provide outreach services to manufacturers and teach them how to conduct their own environment audits, said United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (Unido) director-general Dr Kandeh Yumkella.
"Within the cleaner production process we target four areas, one is water optimisation, also how much water is used, wasted and polluted in a factory and how to minimise that," he said.
"We look at industrial energy efficiency, and the release of heavy metal pollutants that remain in the soil and water and how to treat those, and another area is recycling.
"This is a nation that doesn't have a lot of land mass, so as the nation evolves and wants to go into manufacturing we hope that we minimise all these four areas of potential pollution or waste and doing all that from a commercial stand point is going to be crucial."
Public Commission for the Protection of Marine Resources, Environment and Wildlife director-general Dr Adel Al Zayani said the proposal for the cleaner production centre had been acknowledged by authorities and hoped to gain their approval in the near future.
If approved the centre would be managed by Unido and would benefit Bahrain and the region.
"There is a need and willingness from Bahrain for green technologies and to work with the UN on this," he added.
Dr Yumkella and Dr Al Zayani were speaking last night at a Press conference held prior to the opening of the first Bahrain Green Technology Expo.
The four-day expo is organised by the commission and held under the patronage of its president and His Majesty King Hamad's personal representative Shaikh Abdulla bin Hamad Al Khalifa.
Unido has partnered with the commission as a co-organising partner to bring international experts in green technologies to the event and promote it globally. About 100 companies are showcasing green technologies from waste, water and energy.
The conference and forum are focusing on four main themes: renewable energies, water management, waste management and lifestyle technologies.
The event brings experts together with investors, regulators and the public, with the goal of highlighting the use of clean technologies.
Dr Yumkella said the conference came at the right time because it precedes a United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in Brazil on June 20-22.
At the conference heads of state, government and other representatives will discuss their political commitment towards sustainable development and addressing new challenges and trends.
"Pollution has no passport and is created anywhere and affects somewhere else, with rapid growth and industrialisation and transportation we created a lot of pollution and the question is how we can develop without causing future problems," said Dr Yumkella.
He said the region needed to address energy efficiency with regards consumer behaviour, desalination practices, water recycling, air conditioning and lighting systems.
"Some businesses have reduced their costs by 30 per cent by using more energy efficient technology systems," he added.
Dr Yumkella said he had discussed with MPs the legislation and incentives needed to change consumer behaviour, reduce the overuse of natural resources such as water and energy and introduce solutions to domestic and medical waste.
"All these are possible areas where we can collaborate with the government," he said. "There are also business opportunities in promoting green growth and production and we see opportunities in Europe, Japan, the US, China and India.”
"There are business opportunities because you need new technologies to do this and you need people who are engaged in recycling waste as a business not as a charity.
"So you need to know how to organise this and put the right public policies in place and give incentives for people to want to go into green businesses and these are issues we hope will follow on from this conference, but we go with the government and when they are ready to do that,” he added.
The conference and exhibition are being held at the Bahrain International Exhibition and Convention Centre until Thursday.
The conference is open from 9am to 5pm and the exhibition from 9am to 1pm and 4pm to 8pm on all days. Members of the public are welcome to attend the exhibition free of charge. – TradeArabia News Service