Modern world industrial facilities are becoming more applied in developing countries. These countries benefit from such implementations in both a direct and indirect way; vital resources become (more efficiently) available and the local economy gains an additional boost due to increased employment. This results in improving the lives of poor people.

However, industrialisation can be to the detriment of the surrounding environment which in the modern climate has a limited capacity to absorb the activities of industry. In developing countries the intensity of energy and water usage, release of pollutants into water resources and discharge of extra CO2 into the atmosphere is on average five times higher than it is in developed countries. With accelerating industrialisation this gap could grow, if not in terms of intensity, then certainly in absolute amounts.

This problem is recognised by the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) who promote, facilitate, and finance the development, transfer and diffusion of environmentally sound technologies. Competitive and environmentally sustainable industry has a crucial role to play in achieving the Millennium Development Goals of reducing extreme poverty and child mortality rates, fighting disease epidemics such as AIDS, and developing global partnerships for development.

Given their long development history , environmentally sound technologies are well understood and readily available. However, optimal implementation of such industrial facilities in developing countries is usually a challenge due to a limited amount of financial resources, insufficient local knowledge, and/or natural constraints.

For example, NPK chemical fertilisers are used to restore soil nutrients due to a lack of natural manure. However, without adequate training, overuse of fertilisers can lead to soil damage, lower crop yields, unnecessarily high costs for farmers and the destruction of ecosystems. If a low-cost method of testing soil for nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and other minerals were used, it would allow farmers to administer the right amount of fertiliser and prevent against these adverse effects.

The opportunity to start small enterprises and businesses is for many people the only way they can pull themselves out of poverty sustainably and on a global level a key part of meeting our MDG commitments.

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