With ca. EUR 300 million already invested towards promoting sustainable consumption and production (SCP) in Asia and Central Asia through the SWITCH-Asia Programme, and over 140 projects implemented in the region over a period of 15 years, the European Union (EU) is renewing its commitment to support countries in their efforts moving towards an inclusive green and circular economy and switching to more sustainable consumption and production patterns supporting compliance with climate change and environmental agreements. In 2023, the programme will also extend its reach to partner countries in the Pacific and the Middle-East.
On 22nd and 23rd September 2022, the 4th SWITCH-Asia Annual Event organised by the EU SWITCH-Asia SCP Facility took place in Bangkok, Thailand at Conrad Bangkok Hotel. The event brought together 150 representatives from ongoing grant-funded projects in several countries in the region, as well as representatives of the EU Delegations in Asia and Central Asia, SWITCH-Asia National Focal Points within ministries of the 24 eligible countries, and selected regional organisations, partners and experts working in the field of Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP). Specific sessions of this event covered: market transformation and engagement with the private sector, green financing for SMEs, strengthening regional engagement towards SCP and circularity, communications and outreach strategies for SCP, engagement with knowledge institutions.
Through its grants scheme, SWITCH-Asia funds pilot projects helping companies to adopt cleaner technologies and more sustainable industrial practices as well as helping consumers to act more responsibly in their daily choices and lifestyles. Since 2007, this EU programme has funded projects across a wide range of sectors (energy efficiency in industrial plants and houses, agri-food and fishing sectors, textiles and leather, plastics and waste management, tourism, logistics and freight) implemented by over 500 Asian and European partners, about 100 private sector associates, indirectly benefitting up to 80.000 micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs).
The replication and scaling-up effect of project results together with access to finance and public-private investments for green products, services and technologies will be key elements within the programme in the next years in order to have a greater impact in the region. Moreover, by supporting regional dialogues and engaging with regional organisations and governments, the programme aims to improve their understanding of the benefits of SCP and encourage the sharing of best practices between policy-makers, providing them with the capacity to develop long-term viable policy solutions to restructure their economic models. SWITCH-Asia is fully aligned with key EU policy priorities and partnerships, including the EU Green Deal, the EU Strategy for cooperation in the Indo-Pacific, the EU-Central Asia Strategy, the EU-ASEAN Strategic Partnership, among others.