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Wednesday, 04 July 2012 00:00

Rio+20: So what were the outcomes concerning waste?

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The Rio+20 Conference, as it is mostly known, marked the 20th anniversary of the Earth Summit in 1992, which was also held in Rio, in which countries adopted agenda 21 – a blueprint to rethink economic growth, advance social equity and ensure environmental protection.

Rio+20 completed its sessions successfully with the participation of more than 40,000 people, including parliamentarians, mayors, UN officials, chief executive officers and civil society leaders. The main themes of the Conference were: i) a green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication; and ii) the institutional framework for sustainable development.

Despite the significance of the Conference and the great participation from a variety of audiences, many are those claiming that the outcomes of the Conference were limited to generic statements of intent with no legal status. However, the outcomes concerning the “waste field” were not so disappointing; on the contrary sound waste management has been considered as something real important with the engaged stakeholders to call for waste reduction, reuse and recycling, as well as for an increase in the energy recovery from waste. More specifically, in the declaration of the Rio+20 Conference, it is highlighted the importance to adopt a life-cycle approach and to implement policies for resource efficiency and environmentally sound waste management. Furthermore, the declaration called for more use of public-private partnerships, as a means to enhance waste reduction and management capacity and technology. In addition, evident is the concern that many countries around the globe, and especially the developing ones, lack capacity for sound waste management.

Below readers can find a brief description of the points of the final declaration of Rio+20 which concern the “waste field”.

Point Brief Description
60 It is acknowledged that green economy enhances the ability to manage natural resources sustainably and with lower negative environmental impacts, increase of resource efficiency and reduction of waste.
89 It is recognized the contribution to sustainable development made by the Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs), such as the three Conventions in the chemicals and the waste cluster (the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions). In addition the parties to MEAs are encouraged to take further measures in these and in other clusters too. 
110 There is need to significantly reduce post-harvest and other food losses and waste throughout the food supply chain.

There is commitment to:

  • Promote an integrated approach to planning and building sustainable cities and urban settlements; (See how waste management and sustainable cities are connected by downloading free the D-Waste Presentation : “ Strategies and Actions on Waste for Sustainable Cities
  • Promote sustainable development policies that support inclusive housing and social services; a safe and healthy living environment for all, particularly children, youth, women, elderly and disabled; safe and clean drinking water and sanitation; healthy air quality. (See how waste management and living environment, drinking water and sanitation are connected by downloading free the D-Waste Report: “ Waste Management For Everyone ”)
  •  Further support sustainable management of waste through the application of the 3Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle) (See more about 3Rs by downloading the D-Waste Presentation : “ 3R Implementation for Sustainable Solid Waste Management: Examples from Asia

It is also recognized the effort of cities to balance development with rural regions.

213 It is recognized that sound management of chemicals is crucial for the protection of human health and the environment, with increased international cooperation to be required, in order to deal effectively with the keep increasing production of chemicals. Moreover, it is reaffirmed the aim to achieve by 2020 sound management of chemicals throughout their life cycle and of hazardous waste in ways that lead to minimization of significant adverse effects on human health and the environment. In addition, it is reaffirmed the commitment to an approach for the sound management of chemicals and waste at all levels that responds in an effective, efficient, coherent and coordinated manner to new and emerging issues and challenges, and it is encouraged further progress across countries and regions in order to fill the gaps in implementation of commitments.
215 Countries, and especially the developing ones, are encouraged to develop their capacities for sound waste management of chemicals and waste through partnerships, technical assistance and improved governance structures.
216 Increased coordination and cooperation among chemicals and waste Conventions is commended. It is also encouraged the continued and enhanced coordination and cooperation among the participants of chemicals and waste Conventions with the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM).
217 Existing and new and innovative public-private partnerships among industry, governments, academia and other non-governmental stakeholders, aiming to enhance capacity and technology for environmentally sound chemicals and waste management, are commended.
218 It is recognized the importance of adopting a life-cycle approach and of further development and implementation of policies for resource efficiency and environmentally sound waste management.
219 Unsound management of hazardous waste and their illegal dumping should be prevented.
220 It is recognized the importance of science-based assessment of the risks posed by chemicals to human beings and the environment, with the development of environmentally sound and safer alternatives to hazardous chemicals in products and processes to be encouraged. To this end, it is encouraged inter alia, life-cycle assessment, public information, extended producer responsibility, research and development, sustainable design and knowledge sharing, as appropriate.
223 It is acknowledged that sustainable and adequate long-term funding is a key element for the sound management of chemicals and waste, in particular in developing countries.
225 Countries reaffirmed the commitments they have made to phase out harmful and inefficient fossil fuel subsidies that encourage wasteful consumption and undermine sustainable development.


Read 7131 times Last modified on Friday, 13 July 2012 11:47
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