Within the framework of its Global Eco-Industrial Parks Programme (GEIPP), funded by the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland (FHNW) organized a technical study tour on eco-industrial park (EIP) approaches from 5 to 12 June 2022 in Basel, Switzerland.

Henry Nuwarinda of the National Cleaner Production Center South Africa and representatives from the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (the dtic) participated in a study tour including government officials and industrial park managers from Colombia, Egypt, Indonesia, Peru, and Viet Nam, allowing for information and knowledge-sharing related to EIP best practices while promoting deeper linkages among the delegations in attendance.

“The study tour is an opportunity to learn from experts on resource efficient and cleaner production, circular economy and exchange views with other participants on what has worked, but perhaps more importantly, on what has not worked” stressed SECO Programme Manager Philipp Ischer.

“What is important is that countries in different development stages interact with each other, with UNIDO’s goal to enable leapfrogging and cross-fertilization” said UNIDO GEIPP Programme Manager Christian Susan.

Through targeted lectures and field visits to various industrial zones, participants were presented frameworks to accelerate the adoption of EIP approaches in their home countries. Topics included management models for industrial zones, management of risks and opportunities in industrial parks at different stages in their life cycle, industrial park portfolio management for governments, and assessing the readiness for Industry 4.0 in industrial areas. In addition, the importance of defining a unique selling proposition for an eco-industrial park to attract investments was reiterated.

The Study Tour confirmed that countries wishing to participate in global supply chains must embrace opportunities offered by eco-industrial park approaches or risk falling behind. Moreover, the challenges faced by the different countries bear many similarities, underlining the need for deeper linkages and experience sharing. Furthermore, a long-term vision and agile planning coupled with a clear and defined park management structure are key to attracting investments while meeting the highest levels of environmental and social ambition.

UNIDO will continue working closely with its partner countries by providing technical assistance and policy advice to promote an enabling environment for eco-industrial park approaches, while intensifying linkages between the countries through its global knowledge management component.