In May 1991, UNEP's Governing Council took a decision to further strengthen UNEP's role in sustainable environmental management by calling for the creation of an International Environmental Technology Centre (IETC). The centre was inaugurated in October 1992 in Japan and officially opened in 1994.
UNEP IETC focuses on identifying and showcasing environmentally sound technologies (ESTs) and management practices in two areas, namely, waste management and water and sanitation.
In 2005, UNEP IETC developed a full-fledged portfolio on waste management, which initially comprised two focal areas: resource augmentation by utilizing waste and Integrated Solid Waste Management. After the successful implementation of an initial set of activities, there was strong demand to address specific waste streams such as Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE / e-waste), waste agricultural biomass, health care waste, waste oils, waste plastics, and disaster debris. In 2009, UNEP Governing Council 25 acknowledged the efforts of UNEP IETC and asked for a scaling up of the activities.
Water and Sanitation
Historically, water has been a key focal area with initiatives on the management of lakes and reservoirs, Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) based on the ecosystem approach, and promotion of water-related ESTs. UNEP IETC's water and sanitation programme has aimed to improve access to safe drinking water and sanitation, particularly through wastewater management. In the future, water and sanitation will be addressed as part of the waste management agenda.
UNEP IETC has experience on a wide range of activities including technical assistance, demonstration/ pilot projects, capacity building, and advisory services.
1991: UNEP Governing Council decision 16/34 calls for the establishment of an International Environmental Technology Centre (IETC) in Japan.
1992: The Government of Japan and UNEP sign an agreement to set up IETC followed by an inauguration in Osaka.
1992: To support IETC, the Global Environment Centre (GEC) Foundation was established.
1994: IETC offices in Osaka and Shiga officially open.
2005: Launch of the waste management portfolio.
2007: Iraqi Marshlands project team receives the 2007 UN 21 Award commendation.
2011: IETC is restructured and offices are consolidated in Osaka.
2012: IETC celebrates its 20th anniversary.