Suzanne Arup Veltzé describes a fruitful partnership where three major players in international waste management have joined forces for development

With members in more than 70 countries, the International Solid Waste Association (ISWA) disseminates information to promote sustainable waste management worldwide. ISWA and UNEP have been cooperating on waste management matters for some years, mainly through ISWA Working Groups and UNEP’s Division for Technology, Industry and Economics. This partnership has developed in the last couple of years and now includes the Secretariat of the Basel Convention. The three bodies have joined forces and share the same approach to development.

Two years ago the cooperation launched the training resource pack (TRP), providing a unique set of training materials on all aspects of hazardous waste management in developing economies. The TRP is the result of the work of the ISWA Working Group on Hazardous Wastes, UNEP and the Basel Convention. It received the ISWA Publication Award and was specially recognized by the UK Royal Society for the Promotion of Health. It is being translated into Spanish and Chinese with the help of local ISWA national members.

Freely available
The TRP is designed to help ‘train the trainers’, providing them with slides on a CD-ROM, which can also be downloaded free of charge from both the ISWA and UNEP websites. Indeed, all the material is provided free in order to be available as widely as possible in developing countries. ISWA has changed its policy so as to make publications free to download for all members.

ISWA, UNEP and the Basel Convention have used the TRP in training courses in Turkey, Australia and China, and are holding a regional workshop on 8-10 November 2004 in Split, Croatia. They will also carry out training courses in Argentina, covering various waste issues, as part of ISWA’s partnership with the Argentine Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development on a national waste strategy for the country. The courses will include a hazardous waste training course based on the TRP.

ISWA and UNEP have also published a short booklet on waste management planning for local government in developing countries, which was first launched at a local government session at the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg. A joint workshop with UNEP and the ISWA Scientific and Technical Committee has identified further steps for joint action. This decided, among many proposals, that ISWA should initiate reporting guidelines for the waste sector within the UN-approved Global Reporting Initiative.

New cooperation
ISWA will also join forces with the 23 UNEP National Centres for Clean Production around the world, which should help to spread its knowledge base more efficiently in developing countries. To kick-start this new cooperation, ISWA will take part in a high-level seminar on sustainable consumption and production on 15-16 November in Mexico, where it will present examples of sustainable resource use.

In the cooperation between these three major players in international aspects of waste management, the Basel Convention provides the legal framework, UNEP provides a more formalized network and ISWA provides links between industry, public authorities and research institutions. This creates a special synergy from which all benefit. This cooperation will soon increase because ISWA at its Annual Congress in Rome will sign a cooperation agreement with the World Bank, adding a fourth important player

Suzanne Arup Veltzé is the Managing Director of the International Solid Waste Association (ISWA).


This issue:
Contents | Editorial K. Toepfer | Building partnerships, mobilizing resources | Much to discuss, much to do | Delivery time | Adolescence and money problems | Complete the job | Creating synergy | New challenges

Complementary articles in other issues:
Shunichi Suzuki: Slimming the Waste (Energy) 2003
Issue on Chemicals and the environment 2002
Jack Weinberg: Unpopular POPs (Global Environment Facility) 2002
Issue on Hazardous Waste 1999
Alemayehu Wodageneh: Trouble in store (Chemicals) 1997
Frank Wania and Don Mackay: Global Distillation (Chemicals) 1997

Secretariat of the Basel Convention: