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Train-the-Facilitators Workshop in South Africa

Fall 2018 marks the half way point for the Yale-UNIDO Global Green Chemistry Initiative - funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) - which promotes the increase a global awareness of green chemistry in six countries around the world. The next phase of the project is providing 5-Day Train-the-Facilitators (TTF) Workshops where international green chemistry experts train and empower stakeholders to become catalysts of green chemistry in their countries and to disseminate green chemistry to their communities.

The first TTF was hosted by the National Cleaner Production Centre of South Africa (NCPC-SA) in Pretoria, South Africa on October 28, 2018 – November 2, 2018. The event was held at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), which is South Africa's central and premier scientific research and development organization.

The workshop was attended by representatives from government (Department of Science and Technology, Department of Trade and Industry), industry (AEL Mining Industries, DC Laboratories), academia (University of the Witwatersrand, University of KwaZulu-Natal, University of Johannesburg, North-West University), NGOs (Chemical Industries Education & Training Authority) and consulting (Ozone Business Consulting, Research Innovations Africa). In addition to a diverse group of workshop participants, the event was supported by NCPC-SA leadership team (Wynand van der Merwe, Faith Mkhacwa, Tanya Van Zyl and Matimba Makhani) and UNIDO representative, Khaled El Mekwad, a Head of the South Africa Regional Office and the NCPC-SA.

During the 5-day workshop participants were instructed on a wide range of topics to equip them with tools to become green chemistry facilitators. These topics included green chemistry and economic advantage, green chemistry and its role in sustainability, and benefits of green chemistry in different sectors: feedstocks, solvents, energy, catalysis, waste, and new molecules with reduced hazard. The workshop was delivered by Professor Audrey Moores from McGill University who was assisted by Dr. Karolina Mellor from the Center for Green Chemistry & Green Engineering at Yale. The workshop allowed participants to discuss green chemistry as a group and participate in several hands-on exercises that focus on green chemistry tools and practices. The workhop ended with presentation of green chemistry initiatives and technologies, which are currently developed in South Africa, Uganda and Kenia. The diversity of projects was robust and it ranged from biocatalysis and waste reduction in the industrial settings to chemical leasing in beverage sector.

“We are thrilled that we could be part of this important event and train the audience to become green chemistry experts. We hope that this workshop will strengthen national and regional green chemistry initiatives and becomes a framework to implement green chemistry on the wide scale” said Dr. Karolina Mellor, a workshop instructor and Global Green Chemistry Initiative program administrator.

Professor Audrey Moores from McGill University added, “We are empowering people – it’s a catalytic impact – so they can facilitate green chemistry.”

Wynand van der Merwe, NCPC-SA Skills department manager said, “The Centre is committed to inculcating resource efficient and cleaner production methodologies in industry. Green Chemistry extends our mandate to minimizing waste at source.”

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