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U.N. agency assisting North Korea with pro-environmental practices

By Elizabeth Shim
U.N. agency assisting North Korea with pro-environmental practices
New buildings are being built in the North Korean city Sinuiju, across the Yalu River from Dandong, China's largest border city with North Korea. UNIDO, a U.N. agency, has been financially supporting environmental initiatives in the country. Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI | License Photo

SEOUL, June 17 (UPI) -- The United Nations Industrial Development Organization is to assist North Korea develop environmentally sound enterprises.

UNIDO, the Vienna-based U.N. agency that aims to promote and accelerate industrial development in developing countries, said it is pursuing four different environmentally friendly projects in the country, Radio Free Asia reported.

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According to a UNIDO official, since March 2015, $123,700 has been allocated toward progressively reducing the discharge of hydrochlorofluorocarbons in North Korea. In 2015, $57,290 was spent for the first project.

HCFCs are the chemical compounds used as substitutes for chlorofluorocarbons because they are slightly less destructive to the ozone layer. They are commonly used in cooling devices such as refrigerators and air conditioners.

UNIDO's work with North Korea has been ongoing for quite some time.

In 2011 the U.N. agency budgeted $50,000 toward introducing polyurethane foam, used for insulation, and in 2010 UNIDO provided $65,000 of development assistance to introduce HCFCs to North Korea.

UNIDO plans to implement a complete ban on the production and transactions of CFCs by 2030.

The agency once donated $10 million of food aid to North Korea during the 1990s, when a catastrophic famine killed over a million people, according to U.N. estimates.

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North Korea joined UNIDO in August 1981. The agency was formally established in 1967.

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