Sustainable Development Success Stories

National capacity building for industrial environmental management

Location Kathmandu, Nepal
Responsible organization United Nations Industrial Development organisation (UNIDO), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
Description Although industry is still a relatively small contributor to Nepal's GDP, its contribution is expected to increase rapidly given its promotion as the most adequate form of economic development. Thus, action was needed to abate pollution from existing industries and to build environmental controls into the design of new industries. Control measures had to combine pollution control while assuring minimal negative impact on existing industries. It was important to demonstrate that environmental protection can be compatible with generating profits, in order not to dissuade future investments in industrial activities. To achieve this, the project tackled both institutional and human resource development issues for each element of an environmental regulation programme. Four environmental sections were created within the Ministry of Industry which is responsible for controlling industrial pollution in Nepal. A survey of industrial pollutant discharges was conducted. The sectors, which cause major environmental problems, were selected for immediate attention. Appropriate discharge standards were formulated in cooperation with representatives from each of the five sectors.
Issues addressed Industrial pollution, capacity building.
Results achieved In late 1997, Nepal developed national capacity to reduce industrial pollution in a sound manner, with a proper balance between environmental and economic considerations. Industrialists acquired information about environmental problems and the real costs involved in meeting environmental regulations. Their fears of excessive costs stemming from meeting environmental norms disappeared. The Government committed itself to further promote environmentally friendly industries. An environmental permit mechanism was developed to control new industrial development, and guidelines were prepared. Emphasis was placed on cleaner production options in the issuing of permits. The ability to measure pollutants and to monitor factory discharges was also improved. Staff from the Ministry of Industry received training, both through overseas study tours (in the case of eight people) and on the job. A working manual was prepared to assist the Ministry of Industry in handling various tasks related to environmental issues. At present, the Ministry has enough human resources to control industrial pollution in Nepal.
Lessons Learned
  • Industrial development in developing countries can proceed hand in hand with a sound environmental regulatory programme. The approach adopted in this project will allow the economy to expand in harmony with the environment and will pave the way for resource conservation and productivity improvements.


  • Industry participation is essential at all stages of development of the regulatory framework. It is important that industrialists and entrepreneurs do not feel threatened by the introduction of new rules and regulations.

Contacts Mr. Grant Ramsay, UNIDO, Vienna International Centre, P.O. Box 300, A-1400 Vienna, Austria
Tel (43 1) 21131 3774; Fax (43 1) 21131 6819
E-mail: gramsay@unido.org
Home page: http://www.unido.org