International Waters learning Exchange & Resource Network

7.6 - Transfer of Environmentally Sound Technology (TEST) in the Danube River Basin

Highlighted Practices for GEF PMs

The following are the practices and lessons (by the companies which could be replicated for other GEF project private sector stakeholders):

  • A general increase of productivity through a more efficient use of resources (energy, water, raw materials) in companies
  • A significant reduction of unnecessary investments and operational costs associated to pollution generation  (end of pipe solutions)
  • Change from loss to profit by valorization of wastes as by-products
  • Overall improvements in quality of products.
  • Increased marketing potential as a result of higher quality linked with environmental acceptability.
  • Avoidance of fines, penalties and ill-will with regulatory bodies monitoring compliance.
  • Overall improvements to company profiles, credibility and stakeholders’ relationship.


The Transfer of Environmentally Sound Technology (TEST) project was intended to improve environmental management practices among key businesses and other industrial enterprises in the Danube River Basin to reduce environmental loadings and improve environmental performance.  The project was implemented by UNDP and executed by UNIDO.  17 enterprises qualified, volunteered and were accepted for the TEST demonstration process, which focused on showcasing how companies could go beyond compliance and meet their environmental targets, providing a key competitive advantage.  For more information, please visit


The funding totaled $990,000 from GEF/UNDP for the TEST project.


In general, the major drivers for small and medium size enterprises to partner with the private sector include the necessity for access to capital and technical assistance. For larger companies, the main drivers include the need for help in meeting environmental performance targets.  If the GEF can help address these issues, companies will come forward to partner.

There is a strong business case for companies to join the TEST program as it could satisfy both business segments by providing the following benefits:

  1. Decreasing production losses & costs through a more efficient use of resources (energy, water, raw materials)
  2. Introducing best practices and cleaner technology, including access to grants and financing schemes
  3. Identifying opportunities for waste minimization and opportunities for their valorisation
  4. Reducing investment and operational costs of EoP
  5. Achieving environmental compliance and enhance relationships with stakeholders
  6. Improving the company’s overall environmental management culture and obtain an EMS certification
  7. Greening their image along the supply chain for increased market penetration
  8. Training their staff on cleaner production[1]


From 2001 to 2004, this GEF medium size project successfully completed the transfer of knowledge and cleaner production technologies to seventeen enterprises in five Danube basin countries.

The countries (Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia) met the following key criteria:

1) Economic and political transition;

2) Undergoing increasing industrial production and consumption;

3) Experiencing growing environmental pressure; and

4) Experiencing changing social conditions and pressures.

Project replication was achieved as UNIDO is implementing the TEST methodology in the Mediterranean within the MedPartnership initiative.  This effort is transferring clean technologies and processes to help the private sector.  A pilot phase was completed in 2012 in three countries and 43 companies, while a large up-scaling phase involving nine countries of the South Mediterranean basin will be launched during the second half of 2013.[2]

Case Study Questions and Answers

What is the target population or beneficiaries of this project?

The Transfer of Environmentally Sound Technology in the Danube River basin targeted industrial enterprises but the outcomes of improving environmental management practices benefit everyone who lives in the Danube River basin.

What markets can the partnership create for private sector products and services?

In the Danube River basin, the partnership committed to reducing environmental loads on the basin created a market for clean technologies.

What environmental performance targets will be reached?

The Danube River basin partnership worked to reach targets beyond compliance for industrial, effluent pollutant loads.

What were the outcomes of the partnership?

In the Danube River Basin, the Transfer of Environmentally Sound Technology project trained 17 enterprises in environmental compliance and clean technologies.  The project has been replicated in the Mediterranean and has expanded to 43 companies.


[2] For more information, please visit: