International Day of Zero Waste - Urban Thinkers Campus – What Cities Can Do?
On March 30th, 2023, the world celebrated the International Day of Zero Waste with an UN-Habitat Urban Thinkers Campus. People from all over the world gathered to share their ideas, best practices, and experiences about waste management and sustainability.
This webinar provided an opportunity to recognize the global effort to reduce, recover, recycle, and manage waste more responsibly and share experiences from around the world to explore the roles of cities. The outcome of the webinar was a call to action with practical steps for all the actors to take.
As the event kicked off, the moderator, Ms. Nao Takeuchi, welcomed and introduced the agenda with the following keynote speakers.
Christine Auclair, Head of Advocacy & Campaign Unit, ERSKI, UN-Habitat
Carlos Silva Filho, President, International Solid Waste Association (ISWA)
Nazli Yenal, Expert, DG Environmental Management, Circular Economy and Waste Management Department, Ministry of Environment, Urbanization and Climate Change, Türkiye
Manon Jourdan, Implementation Officer, Zero Waste Implementation, Zero Waste Cities/Europe, Brussels
Paulin Buregeya, Executive Officer of COPED Ltd (Compagnie pour l’Environnement et Développement au Rwanda)
Takehiro Nakamura, Director, International Environmental Technology Center, UNEP
who shared inspiring success stories from around the world highlighting the need for sustainable waste management practices.
The panel of experts discussed the challenges faced by urban areas in managing waste and proposed practical solutions. They discussed the importance of awareness programs to promote sustainable waste management practices, and the need for policies and regulations to enforce waste reduction, reuse, and recycling.
Christine Auclair delivered an insightful introduction to the World Urban Campaign and the purpose of the Urban Thinkers Campus. The World Urban Campaign is a global platform established by the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) to raise awareness about urbanization and promote sustainable urban development.
The Urban Thinkers Campus is an initiative under the World Urban Campaign that brings together experts, stakeholders, and the general public to exchange ideas, share knowledge, and collaborate on solutions to urban challenges. Christine Auclair explained that the event serves as a platform for participants to engage in dialogue and innovative thinking around urbanization, and to ultimately drive action towards more sustainable, equitable, and inclusive urban development. The introduction provided a clear understanding of the goals of the event and the significance of the World Urban Campaign's mission.
Carlos RV Silvo Filho started off by highlighting the need for sustainable waste management practices. He called for the removal of all dumpsites and the end of open burning while fostering initiatives on waste prevention and expanding source separation efforts towards full circularity. He emphasized the need to provide access to feasible and consistent technologies to recover most of the remaining waste, maximize the ambition to tackle GHG emissions and increase adequate financing while ensuring robust governance systems are in place.
“Human activities are driving changes to the structures of our planet. We must act now because this is our home” ~ Carlos Silvo
Nazil Yenal shared the success of Turkiye Zero Waste Projects, including the Zero Waste Management System and Implementations Guidelines created by the Ministry.Nazil Yenal highlighted achievements in Turkiye, including educating 18.5 million people, installing systems in 16,000 buildings, certifying 117,893 campuses, and 96 municipalities. Turkiye's Zero Waste Initiative targeted four SDGs, namely 9, 11, 12, 13, and 14, and received several awards.
“To improve circularity, we must find a way to use the waste as a resource as soon as possible. When speaking of waste as an issue instead of a resource, no further steps can be taken” ~ Nazil Yenal
Manon Jourdan discussed Zero Waste Europe's cities Programme, which engaged and supported 480 municipalities in 15 countries to develop Zero Waste strategies. Jourdan emphasized the network of local and national coordinators, model front-runners, and best practices. She discussed Zero Waste Certification and the impact of ZWCities, with data collected from 460 municipalities, including Ljubljana, Treviso regions, Tubingen, and Kamikatsu.
“Through mentoring the communities on the transition to zero waste by advocating for waste prevention above waste management, there is a need for a continuous effort to phase out waste not by burning or landfills but instead by creating and implementing systems that do not generate waste in the first place” ~ Manon Jourdan
Paulin Buregeya stressed the need to set waste regulations and provide strong awareness and education for policymakers, regulators, and local authorities. He shared the success of waste evacuation in Kigali, with over 90% of waste collected, and highlighted the valorization of organic waste and home-grown solutions piloted in Kigali. Paulin Buregeya discussed the waste management value chain as a solution for a smart city, including pre-collection and waste education, collection and transportation, pre-treatment, treatment and waste disposal, application, and city cleaning and beautification. He emphasized the positive impact of waste management on job opportunities for women.
Throughout the event, participants actively engaged in discussions, sharing best practices for waste management. They learned about the latest initiative technologies and innovations in waste management and sustainability, such as waste-to-energy systems, composting, and biodegradable materials from the different projects realized in Italy, Turkiye and Rwanda.
Takehiro Nakamura delivered the closing remarks at the Urban Thinkers Campus for International Waste Day, lauding the organizers and participants for hosting the first-ever zero-waste webinar. He also announced the launch of a repository on good practices for waste management, created in partnership with UNEP and UN-Habitat, and encouraged partners to share and store these good practices in the repository's link
“With the waste management systems in place not catching up with the ever-increasing global waste generated, the only thing we can do is reduce waste, reuse waste and recycle waste” ~ Takehiro Nakamura
As the event ended, participants were inspired by the possibilities of sustainable waste management and the role they could play in creating a better future for the planet. They left the campus feeling empowered and motivated to implement sustainable practices in their own communities.
The last Urban Thinkers Campus for International Waste Day was a great success, leaving a lasting impact on more than 160 participants. It showcased the power of collaboration and innovation in creating a more sustainable future for all.
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