Opinion : Reaching outside our bubble

bubble, solar, background, renewable, sunny, blue sky, air, atmosphere, biosphere, sunshine, ecology, sky, banner, panoramic, wide, clouds, header, website, mind body spirit, copyspace, outdoors, energy, light, enlightenment, sunworship, sun, blissful, panel, panorama, soul, cloudscape, summer, spring, holiday, happy, happiness, beautiful, nature, natural, cloud, outside, joy, pleasure, far away, awesome, cheerful, positivity, healing, transparent, translucent
© Nikki Zalewski - stock.adobe.com

The past two months have been busy and mostly “on the road” for ISWA (either physically or online) as events resumed after the pandemic and took place in different parts of the world, starting with WasteExpo in the USA, then IFAT in Germany, Stockholm+50 in Sweden, the Conferences of the Parties to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions in Geneva, the UN Ocean Conference in Portugal, and ISWA-related meetings and events in Denmark to close the first half of 2022.

Waste-related discussions have never been so present and simultaneously included in the agenda of high-level events. This time there were presentations, meetings and direct interactions conducted by different ISWA representatives with regulators, high-level authorities, leaders from the industry and from many other institutions, highlighting ISWA’s prominence on the scene.

I had the honour of attending some of these occasions in person, giving or listening to interesting presentations, such as the one by David Biderman, CEO of SWANA, ISWA National Member in the United States, during WasteExpo.

IFAT came immediately afterwards, four years after the last edition, and it seemed as if “the world” had headed to Munich to meet and check out the latest solutions for a wide variety of aspects and operations related to waste management, sanitation and environmental protection.

Friends and members from all over the world visited a revamped ISWA booth, where an intense and very attractive programme was organised. This year we had three high-level ministerial receptions attended by Ministers of State from Singapore, Brazil and Malaysia, bringing together a number of people at the booth during these audiences.

A keynote presentation at the open arena in the show brought attention to ISWA’s most recent publication – The Future of the Waste Management Sector - to a packed audience, who expressed great interest in the association’s key messages.

The agenda in Munich also included the session “Waste Sector in the spotlight of the Global Methane Pledge”, jointly organised with CCAC, the German Environment Agency (UBA) and the PREVENT Waste Alliance, which featured great presentations and engaged participants from all over the world. Another highlight of the week was the fourth edition of the European Roundtable, organised to discuss innovative technical solutions for the circular economy and waste management, which was chaired by ISWA Vice-President Arne Ragossnig.

In parallel to this very intense programme, we also saw the launch of the ISWA Young Professionals Group in Germany and the ISWA Germany Networking Session at the booth to close the memorable week.

Right after IFAT we were able to co-organise a side event at Stockholm+50 in partnership with Avfall Sverige (ISWA National Member in Sweden) and UNDP. This official event focused on municipalities and was aimed at encouraging local authorities, cities and regions to discuss solutions designed to help achieve the SDGs and fight climate change. The very consistent programme, chaired by Tony Clark, CEO of Avfall Sverige, showed that there are a number of measures in place, but improved cooperation and partnerships are urgently needed to address the challenges in waste management faced by municipalities.

The core message that sound waste management is required to fulfil the global commitment to prevent pollution, delivering adequate environmental and health conditions for all as a basic human right, has been at the heart of all our interventions and participations. This has attracted more attention to and support for this cause, bringing ISWA to the stage with very relevant partners to fulfill our goal of reaching outside our bubble and positioning the waste and resources management sector as a main stakeholder to tackle the planetary crisis and move towards a better and cleaner future.