INDONESIA, SINGAPORE, PORTUGAL
Meeting with InSWA Indonesian Solid Waste Association
Dinner with the Singapore Minister of Environment Dr Vivian Balakrishnan
Meeting with Mme Assuncao Cristas, Portuguese Minister of Environment
A Report by President David Newman
This has been a very busy period attending ISWA events worldwide. Among the more pleasant visits was meeting the Indonesian Solid Waste Association’s Board in Jakarta on June 30th. This rapidly developing country has all the classic problems related to waste management in the developing world- urbanisation, population, income and consumption growth without the equivalent delivery of public hygiene services. They have much catching up to do and I was humbled by InSWA’s determination to improve waste management there with excellent urban composting, collection facilities and urban farming as models to show city planners nationwide. This nation will offer exciting investment opportunities in our sector once it has got the EPR systems, financial models and local implementation into gear. InSWA is working hard on these questions now. My thanks to President Ms. Sri Bebassari for her very kind hospitality.
Singapore, as you all know, got to grips with its waste emergency over the last decade and now is a model to imitate, although Minister of Environment Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, with whom I spoke at length, told me he was pushing for greater resource recovery and lowering the externalities of Singapore’s final sinks. He has an ambitious programme to create a closed cycle economy, and the NEA colleagues are working with industry now on creating the strategy. On July 2nd I had dinner with the new Director of the National Environment Agency Mr Ronnie Tay and was pleased to refresh our excellent relations with them especially in the field of training. The day before I enjoyed dinner (all this eating is not helping my waistline at all) with the Managing Director of Keppel Infrastructure, Mr. Tay Lim Heng whose views of opportunities in the waste industry come from the privileged perch of a major engineering company working worldwide. He is very upbeat about our sector, telling me that Keppel are focusing more on waste than water systems in the future. I also spoke at and much enjoyed the Waste Symposium in Singapore where Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam presented their situations. I remind you all to be there June 1-4th 2014 for their next international waste congress, WasteMet Asia.
Lastly, back in Europe on July 15th I met with Mme Assuncao Cristas, the Portuguese Minister of Environment during my few days in Lisbon for the Portuguese annual waste conference. The Minister outlined to me the plans to finalise Portugal’s waste infrastructure, a difficult task in a nation living through very painful budget cuts and the Minister is relying upon the private sector to intervene. I offered ISWA’s technical support. I am pleased to say the Minister is very supportive of our Climate Change policies and will certainly participate in Warsaw at one of our events.
I thank Professor Mario Russo of the National Member for organising a very well attended and excellent conference and the meeting with the Minister.
Finally I am glad to announce that ISWA has been invited to the High Level Ministerial meeting of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition in Oslo on September 2nd and 3rd. As the only NGO on the CCAC’s steering committee dealing with waste, ISWA is in a unique position to drive forward our agenda at the highest level. This coalition, whose secretariat is run from UNEP in Paris, is heavily sponsored by the US State Department. I will report back afterwards.
Now, frankly, I am going on holiday and will be back in action in September. Enjoy your summer break in the northern hemisphere or your winter holidays down under and some time to relax and reflect on a world that is coming together but seems, too often, to be coming apart.