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Chapter Three: Policy Responses - Latin America and the Caribbean

Industry and new technologies

 Cleaner production in Chile

Chile's Cleaner Production Policy, dating from September 1997, was designed by the Ministry of Economy to encourage competitivity and good environmental management in business, support environmental preventive actions and develop cleaner production processes, including a more efficient use of energy and water. The action programme for 1997-2000 is designed to:

*  promote cleaner production through technology transfer, open up markets for technological services and foster research and development;
*  promote cooperation through voluntary programmes;
*  strengthen the country's technological and information infrastructure;
*  strengthen management and coordination in cleaner production, and integrate cleaner production with other national programmes;
*  encourage regulatory and enforcement agencies to distribute cleaner production information, particularly to small and medium-size enterprises.

The plan is being implemented through existing machinery and funds such as the Metropolitan Region Prevention and Decontamination Plan, which includes rules to improve fuel composition, distribution and storage, and a tax to encourage the use of cleaner sources of energy. The new policy will be coordinated with other plans, such as the Energy Efficiency Plan of 1992 and the Frame Agreement of 1997 to optimize energy management by small and medium-size enterprises. Funds will include the National Environmental Commission's Technological Conversion Subsidy, set up for conversion of refrigeration and plastic foam manufacturing equipment to non-ozone depleting substances, which has an endowment of US$5 million for 1997-2000, and the 1992 Technological Innovation Programme.

Source: Chile Ministerio de Economía 1998


Economic globalization and the development of markets sensitive to environmental issues are creating pressures to improve the environmental quality of products and promote clean industrial processes. Environmental demands are seen as challenges rather than limitations. Producers in Argentina, Brazil and Mexico are vigorously adapting productive processes to ISO 14 000 as a means of demonstrating compliance with international norms. In some countries, the lead has been taken by the most competitive sectors. In Chile, environmental and sectoral public agencies are seeking to transform the nation's productive structure through a series of economic incentives (see box).

In other countries, some progress has been made as a result of voluntary agreements, for example with coffee entrepreneurs in Costa Rica and the programme of alcohol addition to gasoline in Brazil, demonstrating that strict regulation of resource use may not be the most efficient way of fostering technological change.

Research and technological development initiatives cover agriculture (genetic engineering), fisheries, forestry, waste management and the pharmaceutical sector (taking advantage of biological diversity to manufacture medicinal products). New methods of exploiting biotechnology and genetic engineering, new machinery, computerized drip irrigation and radioactive isotopes are gradually being introduced in areas where intensive agriculture is practised.

Some developments in the Caribbean are summarized in the box below.

 Cleaner production in the Caribbean

The adoption of cleaner technologies was initiated in the early 1990s. Several countries, including Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and Guyana, have undertaken clean technology initiatives through public and private sector partnerships, with research contributions from major universities.

The sectors covered include agriculture, tourism and mining. For example, JAMALCO, a joint venture between the Government of Jamaica and Alcoa Minerals of Jamaica Ltd., has pioneered two types of bauxite residue disposal technology.

Cleaner energy technologies are being promoted in a number of countries including Barbados, Cuba, Dominica, Jamaica and St Lucia, in the form of energy efficiency and alternative energy sources including solar, hydroelectric, biomass and biogas. Wind energy is being exploited in Curacao, Jamaica and Barbados. Since 1993, Curacao has been operating a 3-MW wind farm, while Jamaica plans to install an 18-20 MW wind farm by 2000. The first Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion plant, which uses heat energy from warm surface areas to generate power, has been constructed in Cuba, followed by the development of a 2-MW demonstration plant in Jamaica. Biomass has been used as an energy source in the sugar cane industry in Cuba.

Source: UNEP/UWICED/EU 1999


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