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RSS Celebrates the First Anniversary of Cleaner Production Project

 

Under the patronage of His Royal Highness Prince El-Hassan, the Royal Scientific Society (RSS) celebrated on Thursday June 30, 2005 the first anniversary for the launching of the cleaner production (CP) project.

In his address, which was delivered on his behalf by H.E. Munther Al-Masri, Director of Majlis El-Hassan, Prince El-Hassan stressed confidence that this project will enhance the image of the Jordanian industry and will increase international exchange and cooperation.
He said, “We are proud that the Royal Scientific Society, in collaboration with the Swiss institutions and with the support of the Swiss Secretariat for Economic Affairs, was chosen as a truthful partner to host and implement the ambitious Cleaner Production Project.”

Noting that cleaner production is a matter of changing attitudes and behavior in doing business, applying know-how and improving production processes as well as the product itself, Prince El-Hassan said it helps protect the environment by reducing pollution and waste at source.

Concluding, Prince El-Hassan said, “ a broad application of Cleaner Production among our industry will give Jordan a leading role in promoting further this concept at a regional level. Jordan has thus the potential to become the hub for regional South-South cooperation in the field of Cleaner production.”

On his part, RSS President Prof. Sa’ad Hijazi said, “Our meeting today represents a fruit of Jordanian-Swiss partnership. An initiative that had been taken by RSS and has been met by all the necessary support from the Swiss government. Today we witness the outcome of the wok carried out by a Jordanian-Swiss team to improve the performance of Jordanian industries through the Cleaner Production Project.” He added, “The importance of the project to RSS stems from the fact that it lies in line with the mission of RSS in helping local industries improve their performance through know-how and technology transfer. The project also receives greater importance as it is unique in dealing with improving not only the economic performance (the productivity and competitiveness) but also in improving the environmental performance of the enterprises.” Concluding, Prof. Hijazi thanked all those who contributed to bringing this project to reality. He said, “I truly acknowledge the support of the Swiss government and the technical institutions for their dedication in this endeavor.”

On his part, HE the Swiss Ambassador in Amman, Mr Paul Widmer said, “It is easy to sign an agreement but it is the proof that something worthwhile is happening in the implementation that counts. I am very glad when I see many industrialists here, which means something has been done throughout the year and we are planning to do more.” Stressing that the Swiss government will be financing the project for three years, Mr. Widmer added: “This is not the first project in Jordan with Swiss involvement. We have big hopes for this project because it is a big project of more than $1 million. It will help Jordan most with its environment. He also underlined Swiss assistance in holding training programmes for industrialists to manage pollution prevention and eco-efficiency measures with the friends of the environment.

Mr. Hans-peter Egler, Head Trade and Clean Technology Division of the Swiss Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) praised the role played by RSS in disseminating know-how related to CP to national industries and added that this will have a positive impact on national industries and the environment and foster the integration of Jordanian industry into the global market. He also called for continued joint cooperation in this regard for its importance in exchange knowledge and expertise. In a statement he made to the press, Mr. Egler said, “Some seven years ago when we started to promote cleaner production to our partners, we realised that we had to develop concrete tools for the industry in order to be able to different industrial production processes. It is now an important moment for industries in developing countries to present their offers to become active partners in the global production process.”

Present at the event were HE Minister of Environment, Eng. Khalid Irani, HE the Swiss Ambassador, Mr Paul Widmer, Head Trade and Clean Technology Division of the Swiss Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), Mr. Hans-Peter Egler and a number of Jordanian officials, industrialists, members of research institutions and NGOs.

It is worth noting that the Cleaner Production (CP) project is the outcome of an agreement signed between the RSS and the Swiss government. The CP aims at assisting the industrial sector in Jordan to follow CP techniques and methods, and exploit the optimum means that would bring about social and environmental impacts (with regards to reducing cost of production and waste). This consequently reduces environmental pollution resulting from industrial production, and enables the Jordanian industrial sector to demonstrate efficiency in production and competitiveness on international markets.

The CP project is the fruit of the RSS efforts and the existing technological cooperation with the Swiss Reference Center (University of Applied Sciences Basel FHBB and Sustainable Business Associates SBA Lausanne), which supports the implementation of this project in its various stages with regards to building up manpower, implementing the practical assessment in several Jordanian industries as well adopting the techniques of CP and implementing them.

In its first year, several companies participated in the CP project, namely Modern Aluminum Industries (MODAL), Arabian Steel Pipes Company, Union Lock, National Paints Company and Sipes Paint Company.

Dieter Mutz from FHBB noted that the CP is one of the major fields for international cooperation, which concern the Swiss government. It was an output of the Rio Conference on Development and Environment in 1992, which called for a vigorous transfer on environmentally sound technologies, and for technology transfer techniques. Based on that, the Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) and environmental technology centers acted together on behalf of the Swiss government to assist the industrial sectors of the developing countries to produce in a sustainable manner, reduce costs, thus improving the competitive position, and thereby ensuring that the CP will help reduce environmental pollution with positive financial benefits for the enterprises.


On his part, Director of the RSS Environmental Research Center Dr. Bassam Hayek, said the CP aims at upgrading the economic and environmental efficiency of industrial institutions where RSS launched it in 2004 covering five local industries including metallic and paints industries. He added that the participants in training courses from these industries, within the CP programme, learned several options to improve the environmental and economic methods adopted in production. He predicted that this would snowball into economic benefits with regards to saving electricity, energy, and raw materials as well as improving the production efficiency. He asserted that this would have a positive impact on environment with regards to reducing the use of natural resources, raw materials, and by reducing waste generation to the environment. Dr. Hayek concluded that the CP contributes to a more sustainable industry in Jordan, enhances RSS’ capacity and provides high-quality products and services to clients. He asserted that the most important element in this project is the industry itself and how much it is willing to change.”

Mr. Karim Zein, president of Sustainable Business Associates, noted that the Jordan industry is facing a challenge to embark on wide national cleaner production programmes in order to respond to growing requests from international markets for environment friendly products. Indeed Cleaner Production can prepare companies to internationally recognized eco-labels and certificates. In a press statement, Mr. Zein stressed that industry in Jordan is facing a challenge which in turn is prompting it to embark on a wide national CP so as to accommodate the growing demand of the international; markets for environment-friendly products.

At the end of the celebration, the efforts of the companies and their participants were acknowledged, as they have proven success in implementing CP to advance the eco-efficiency at their production plants. Certificates were handed by HE the Minister of Environment. The participants also attended a cocktail party at the garden of RSS.

It is worth noting that a dedicated unit “Cleaner Production Unit” has been established at RSS to provide CP services and assessments to Jordanian industries on continuous basis.

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