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Casablanca Hosts Workshop on Innovative Technologies for Waste Management in Arab Region

By United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western As
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On 29-30 September, The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), in partnership with the Economic Commission for Africa's Sub-regional Office for North Africa (ECA/SRO-NA) and the Moroccan Cleaner Production Center (CMPP), organizes a regional workshop at the Golden Tulip Farah Casablanca Hotel, Morocco, entitled “Innovative Technologies for Waste Management in the Arab Region-Paving the Way for the Transition to a Green Economy.”

ESCWA is currently leading efforts to strengthen national capacities in its Member States on developing green production sectors. Since 2012 ESCWA established a network of Green Help Desks to increase awareness on the beneficial role of green technologies in six member countries: Lebanon, Jordan, Oman, Egypt, Tunisia, and Morocco. These Helpdesks aim at supporting Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) interested in benefitting from green economy opportunities. ECA's Office for North Africa is driving the discussion on green economy in the sub-region and is about to publish a report on “Industry and Green Economy in North Africa: stakes, practices and lessons learned” in which it assesses companies' commitment to take into account environmental concerns and principles of sustainable development in their work. The Moroccan Cleaner Production Center (CMPP) is a non-profit association aiming to reduce environmental pollution caused by industry, and supports small and medium size companies in adopting more resource efficient and cleaner production techniques. CMPP has hosted the ESCWA Green help Desk since January 2015. Therefore, staff of the existing Green Help Desks and Cleaner Production Centers as well as representatives of SMEs, research institutions and academia, public institutions, international partners and technical experts in the field of solid waste management will take part in this event. They will exchange information on innovative waste management technologies to promote their use in Arab countries, take stock of regional knowledge and expertise and review related regional business opportunities. The workshop aims to take account of the knowledge and expertise that exists in the region, in terms of application of innovative technologies, methodologies and policies concerning waste; present and exchange best practices, including technologies adapted to the region; build the capacity of the representatives from Green Help Desks, to multiply spaces for business opportunities and technology innovation in waste management in other countries in the region; discuss key questions on waste management with experts from the region and identify potential areas of cooperation; and discuss the significance of technologies for waste management for the protection of health, the environment and opportunities for job creation. Generation of solid waste in the Arab region has been growing due to, amongst other reasons, population and economic growth, urbanization, industrialization, rising standards of living, changing consumption patterns and the lack of public awareness. The amount of municipal solid waste generated in Arab countries in 2020 will likely exceed 200 million tons per year. These rising quantities of waste are posing increasing problems for countries in the Arab region with adverse effects on the environment, the quality of drinking water, and human health. Several countries in the Arab region have taken steps to design and improve waste management policies, adopt innovative methodologies and technologies. However, there is currently no formal, structured exchange of experiences on waste management technologies and practices in the region. Progress on innovation also remains limited, with inefficient coordination of efforts, insufficient funding and lack of collaboration between universities and businesses.

Rather than perceiving waste as a liability, it should be considered a resource because a large part of our waste can be reused. Green solid waste management aims to manage waste in a manner that meets public health and environmental concerns, while conserving resources through reuse and recycling of the waste materials.