Sustainable Manufacturing and Environmental Pollution (SMEP)

Programme donor: Department for International Development (DFID), UK government.

The Sustainable Manufacturing and Environmental Pollution (SMEP) programme is a research initiative supported by the UK government (DFID). It seeks to reduce the environmental and social impacts of manufacturing in developing countries by funding research activities and developing technical solutions that will help reduce the levels of pollution and environmental degradation generated by industrial/manufacturing processes in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) and South Asia (SA). UNCTAD acts as a strategic technical partner to the programme, providing advice to the programme and helping to disseminate results to the international community.

Greening the “brown”

Manufacturing processes in most developing countries are unsustainable in the long term for several reasons. Under this context, the SMEP program aims to assist countries to improve the environmental and health impacts associated to manufacturing pollution, as well as improve economic efficiency of the targeted industry. These include outdated infrastructure, machinery and inefficient methods which generate high levels of pollution, carbon emissions and widespread environmental degradation, as well as inefficient use of energy and natural resources.

Environmental degradation and pollution have been directly linked to several life-threatening illnesses and chronic health problems among manufacturing workers in many developing countries. They are also responsible for affecting the health of the general  population as a result of contamination of air, drinking water, soil, crops, livestock, fish and other resources. Equally important, some production processes hinder economic development because of low productivity outputs.

The programme will also focus on generating evidence and practical solutions to address the problem of plastic pollution in the ocean, an issue which has gained increased attention due to its adverse effects for the economy, ecosystems and human health.

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Photo credits: Dionísio Recicláveis / Henrique Pacini






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Goal 12
27 May 2019Trade, environment deal inked with Swedish non-profit


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