The premier showcase of best practice in African waste management solutions, WasteCon 2018, is fast approaching! We would love for you to join us at the 24th WasteCon conference and exhibition, taking place from 15 to 19 October 2018 at Emperors Palace, Johannesburg.
In support of the objective of reducing waste to landfill, as set out in the Waste Act (Section 2), the Institute of Waste Management of Southern Africa (IWMSA) will host its flagship biennial conference under the theme “Implementing the Waste Hierarchy”. The aim of the waste management hierarchy is to extract the maximum practical benefits from products and to generate the minimum amount of waste.
Plenary sessions, presentations and parallel sessions (including three workshops) will be conducted by leaders in their respective specialisations over a period of three days from 16 to 18 October 2018. These sessions will provide an overview as well as an in-depth description of the developments, research, innovations, and technologies in the waste management arena.
A keynote address titled, “Challenging Changes Connecting Waste hierarchy and Circular economy” by Ad Lansink, is just one of the many fascinating presentations attendees can look forward to.
The conference will also be attended by students in the environmental and waste management fields, providing them with insights into the future of the industry and the opportunity to network with key stakeholders.
A wide range of exhibitors will showcase their diverse waste management products and services. The exhibition space is open to the public.
Media RSVP: Media who wish to attend WasteCon 2018 are invited to review the programme and choose one of the conference days (16, 17 or 18 October 2018) to attend. Media accreditation is valid for one pre-selected day only.
Please RSVP to Nadia Nel via email at firstname.lastname@example.org by Tuesday, 02 October 2018.
Sustainability has always been a key consideration in the mining industry and will continue to shape activity today and beyond.
Tord Svensson, head of TOMRA Sorting Mining
Activity in the mining industry is integral to modern life, with minerals and commodities mined across the world playing a crucial role the way in which both businesses and consumers operate.
As with any industry providing essential products and services, a significant amount of attention is placed on its processes and their impact from both an environmental and economic perspective.
Figures compiled by the United Nations’ Sustainable Development division show that, in the 20th century, extraction of construction minerals increased by 34 times, while that of ores and industrial minerals increased 27 times, which significantly outpaced the quadrupling of the global population and even the 24-fold increase in worldwide GDP.
The dramatic increase in activity naturally placed strain on resources and also created questions around sustainability, but the fact is that sustainable practices have long been an important consideration in mining, stretching back more than 50 years.
In an industry where developments take place across decades and decisions being made now could only come to fruition in half a century, it is essential that the potential impact of any move is taken into account.
A global report carried out by professional services firm Deloitte into the constant challenges and constraints affecting sustainability in mining found that that the ever-increasing demand for mined resources remains a major concern, as well as the consumption of resources such as energy and water, which are required throughout the extraction process.
Increasing pollution generated by the extraction process must also be factored into thinking, with these principles applying to both large-scale, multinational corporates, as well as smaller-scale operations.
In many cases, the sustainability of extraction can vary greatly depending on the industry, but regardless of the processes and techniques being employed and implemented, these operations are still associated with negative environmental and social impacts in some markets.
The ever-present challenge for the sector is strengthening the relationship with local communities and reinforcing the importance of mining to both revenue and employment in many nations, particularly developing countries.
The non-renewable nature of mined resources is also at odds with sustainability, which further illustrates how crucial the efficient use of resources for development remains.
Of course, questions around how to maximize the developmental benefits of mining while also contributing to both environmental and social sustainability are nothing new.
It was given the spotlight in the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation, agreed at the 2002 UN World Summit on Sustainable Development, where three priority areas were identified, including addressing the environmental, economic, health and social impacts and benefits of mining throughout the entire lifecycle, encompassing issues such as the health and safety of workers.
Another key aim outlined was to enhance the participation of stakeholders, including local communities and – just as crucially – fostering sustainable mining practices through the provision of financial, technical and capacity-building support to all countries.
At its core, the practices that will be central to maintaining and improving the sustainability of global mining is the management and reduction of energy and resources used in extracting materials.
Although new sites are being discovered and means of extracting materials are being developed, the nature of the work can have a significant number of side-effects on the surrounding area both in the short and long term. This necessitates the use of the most effective possible methods and machinery, as well as approaches to reducing water and energy use.
Minimizing the use of water that is diverted for mining activity – and can impact both the quantity and quality of water available downstream – has proven highly effective in countries such as Canada, where figures from the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy show that water intake used in mining fell by a third in just ten years.
Reducing energy consumption is also paramount if the impact of the mining industry is to be mitigated; it is estimated that three per cent of the world’s energy is used to mine natural commodities, while land disruption remains a key issue as land that could potentially be used for vegetation may be spoiled.
The use of technology that can play a key role in reducing the industry’s impact on the planet in both the long and short term is therefore paramount, and TOMRA’s range of sorting technology is playing a crucial role in this.
Sensors are able to recognize the target material according to typical characteristics such as color, atomic density, transparency and conductivity and then selectively extract it using a pulse of pressurized air to minimize waste.
A strong emphasis is placed on reducing eventual water and energy consumption when designing all TOMRA machinery, and sensor-based material handling sorters are no exception.
Sorting has a direct effect on reducing the downstream energy consumption in relation to the amount of mass removed by the sorter. If a sorting machine removes 15 per cent of waste by mass, then downstream processes will use approximately 15 per cent less energy, and the same applies to water consumption.
However, processing a ton of sorted ore will consume the same amount of energy as unsorted material; the key factor being that you will be able to produce the same amount of final concentrate treating less material.
Sustainability continues to be at the heart of the mining industry, and maintaining this focus will ensure that new methods of extraction are being complemented by sustainable processes that help to maintain the integrity of the area being mined and its local population and offer tangible business benefits.
Climate change and conflict pose challenges; joint action to deliver on commitments needed – FAO Director-General.
Africa has made great strides in tackling hunger — achieving a 30 percent drop in the proportion of its people facing hunger over the 1990-2015 period — but climate change, conflict and social inequality continue to present major challenges in the continent’s quest for a future free from hunger and want, FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva said today.
While the overall proportion of Africans who are food insecure has dropped, there are “significant variations” in the numbers of food insecure can be seen from country to country, he noted.
“Africa’s economic performance remains robust with growth rates above the global average. However, vulnerability to climate change is high, post-harvest losses are considerable, natural resources are being depleted, and not everyone is benefiting from the proceeds of the current strong economic growth. Access to remunerative income, social protection systems and decent employment opportunities remain narrow for too many rural households,” FAO’s Director-General said.
He was speaking at the official opening of the FAO’ Regional Conference for Africa, taking place this week in Abidjan with the participation of the Prime Minister of Côte d’Ivoire, Daniel Kablan Duncan..
Graziano da Silva urged his listeners to continue to work together to harness the power of the food and agriculture sector as a catalyst for inclusive growth, poverty reduction and fighting hunger, saying: “In spite of the many hurdles along the way, today I urge you to look at how far we have come in the journey to end hunger in our lifetimes.”
The conference’s theme ”Transforming African Agri-food systems for inclusive growth and shared prosperity” mirrors the vision of the African Union and its NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency to realise a renewed vision for Africa’s agriculture sector.
“This conference adds momentum to the push for a fundamental shift in the orientation of Africa’s agricultural and rural development towards transforming the lives of Africans under the 2014 Malabo Declaration and outlined in the Africa’s Agenda 2063”, the FAO Director-General said.
More than 300 people are participating in the event, including 51 African ministers of agriculture and related sectors, as well as technical experts and development specialists, representatives of regional organizations and institutions, members of civil society, and the private sector.
El Niño and other crisis pose challenges
Graziano da Silva highlighted climate change and conflict as two particularly pressing challenges for Africa.
The ongoing El Niño cycle is affecting large parts of the African continent, especially the southern sub-region as well as parts of East Africa, notably Ethiopia and Tanzania, and has taken a major tool on agriculture, he noted, while conflicts in the Central African Republic, Somalia, and South Sudan continue to have serious food insecurity repercussions.
FAO is working in all these hotspots, providing farmers with seeds, tools, and other support vital to maintaining and strengthening their ability to produce food and earn income.
“These crisis vividly remind us of the importance of scaling up resilience interventions targeting vulnerable populations whose livelihoods mainly depend on agriculture, livestock, fisheries forestry and other renewable natural resources,” according to Graziano da Silva.
He also underscored the importance of preventing future disease epidemics like Ebola, which impacted food security and people’s livelihoods in West Africa. FAO has recently launched a five-year programme in Africa to monitor and tackle emerging pandemic threats at their source in animals, working in 13 countries, he said.
The best way to gather hundreds of qualified leads
Africans for Africa
Delivering on the 2025 Zero Hunger challenge as part of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will require the efforts of an alliance of partners, and
“FAO stands ready to support Africa member states in the delivery of the SDGs in firm collaboration with the African Union, other regional institutions and humanitarian and development partners,” Graziano da Silva said.
In support of CAADP, FAO has participated in the formulation of 95 agriculture and food security investment projects in 40 countries in Africa, with financial support from partners such as the AfDB World Bank and IFAD, the agency’s Director-General pointed out.
And in 2012 FAO helped pioneer the innovative Africa Solidarity Trust Fund (ASTF), which mobilizes funds donated by African countries in support of food security projects in less-well off parts of the continent. So far, $34.5 million have been allocated to 15 programmes and projects in 36 different countries, boosting efforts to eradicate hunger.
He encouraged governments to continue to resource the fund, which is working to transforming African agriculture and make it an engine for shared growth and prosperity.
ST&I can help implement the SDGs in more ways than many policymakers realise, says Måns Nilsson.
The 2030 Agenda and its centrepiece, the Sustainable Development Goals(SDGs), call for a transformation in how societies interact with the planet and each other. This transformation will need new technologies, new knowledge and new ways of structuring societies and economies.
Scientific research obviously has a central role. But is innovation the only way it can contribute?
I was recently part of an independent expert group set up by the European Commission to advise on the role of science, technology and innovation (ST&I) in implementing the new global sustainable development agenda.  We identified many, sometimes unexpected, aspects of ST&I’s potential role, and made some recommendations on how to maximise the benefits.
I see three principal roles for ST&I: characterising the challenges; providing the solutions; and strengthening public institutions and society. 
The 2030 Agenda is based on a principle of universality. This means that every country should contribute to achieving the larger vision of global sustainable development. But — naturally — the challenges, priorities and options for action will vary between countries, and for the different groups or institutions involved.
“Scientific research can help to identify precisely what the sustainability challenges are in different contexts.” Måns Nilsson, Stockholm Environment Institute
Scientific research can help to identify precisely what the sustainability challenges are in different contexts, what are the root causes of those challenges and how they relate to other challenges.
The agenda also needs to be interpreted. The SDGs may be numerous, but they are also notoriously vague. This allows — in fact, requires — countries to interpret them, work out where to focus their energies and decide what targets to set. This applies beyond governments too, to the different groups and institutions working to advance sustainable development.
This interpretation is largely a social and political process, but science has a key role to play, for example to provide data and models exploring how different targets interact. This is one role policymakers don’t normally consider.
Finally, science has a role in tracking progress towards the goals. Some targets lend themselves to measurement with indicators derived from the natural sciences, but most require contributions from social and behavioural sciences too.
The second way ST&I can contribute is by providing the technologies, strategies and business models for implementing the SDGs. We simply do not yet have all the solutions we need to make this agenda a reality.
Certainly much could be achieved through making wider use of already available or emerging technologies and know-how. But there will always be a need to adapt them and innovate. To make this happen, we will need to better align funding models, institutions and mindsets with the needs of sustainable development. Research institutions tend to be stuck in sectoral or disciplinary straitjackets, but delivering on the SDGs requires multidisciplinary work.
The 2030 Agenda explicitly recognises that sustainability challenges are fundamentally inter-related. Similarly, the solutions will need to integrate — or at least coordinate — action by many groups, informed by diverse scientific fields. A key role of research here is to ensure that agendas are coherent: that progress in one sustainability area does not undermine progress in another.
Scientific research can also help in assessing current practices, strategies and policy proposals — with an eye to capturing how different goals interact (both the trade-offs and the synergies). The aim here is to look for improvements, identify potential consequences and explore how promising activities could be scaled up or transplanted.
And we should not overlook a final type of contribution, even though it is less direct and often goes unrecognised.
“Scientists will also need to step out of their comfort zones and embrace new ways of working and thinking.” Måns Nilsson, Stockholm Environment Institute
First, the research community is uniquely placed to serve as a neutral forum and platform for dialogue between government, business, civil society and other groups or organisations.
Second, it contributes to development and democracy. In the past, institutions such as the World Bank have viewed research and higher education as a private and individual concern rather than a social benefit — so, for example, they have encouraged borrowing countries to reduce public investment in favour of privatisation.
But in the past 20 years, development policymakers and practitioners have become more aware of the development benefits of long-term investment in research institutions.These are not only in terms of research results that can be put to productive use, but also in building up an educated middle class that promotes social stability and democratic processes.
What does this mean for science?
To say that implementation of the SDGs must rest on solid scientific foundations does not only mean that politicians, businesses and civil society should listen to what science has to say. To pursue this agenda, some scientists will also need to step out of their comfort zones and embrace new ways of working and thinking.
A DRAFT policy which elevates sanitation as a priority and holds municipalities to account has received the backing of social justice groups.
The last time the policy on sanitation was reviewed was 10 years ago.
The Department of Water and Sanitation has drafted a new policy, and opened it for public comment until March14, with some of the focus areas being the right to access to basic sanitation services and prioritising hygiene and basic sanitation services to vulnerable people and unserviced households.
Marie Brisley, the department’s water policy chief director said it will play a stronger role in ensuring municipalities budget properly and meet the standards in terms of wastewater works.
There has been no substantive policy regulating sanitation provision in South Africa, which has left implementation haphazard and without basic standards, Social Justice Coalition (SJC) spokesperson Axolile Notywala said on Tuesday.
Brisley admitted that sanitation provision had not received the necessary attention it required, and was usually the last thing municipalities budgeted for.
“That is why a lot of the wastewater treatment works are neglected and the water that goes back into the water resources does not meet the standards,” Brisley said.
At a public consultation in the city yesterday, SJC deputy general secretary Dustin Kramer said he liked aspects of the draft policy, and Ses’Khona People’s Rights Movement leader Loyiso Nkohla said the policy considered a wide range of issues.
Ses’Khona spearheaded a campaign for the installation of permanent toilets in informal settlements by dumping human faeces in public areas, notably the Cape Town International Airport.
“The government has done a wonderful job in covering issues on a wider spectrum. But they have neglected to include consultation from groups before drafting the policy,” Nkohla said.
In a statement, Notywala said: “Over several years, the SJC has led a campaign for clean and safe sanitation in informal settlements.
“Access to clean, safe and dignified sanitation facilities for all is one of the most basic rights. It is not a luxury. The continued violation of this right is one of apartheid’s greatest legacies and today’s most difficult challenges.
“We encourage communities and relevant stakeholders to make submissions and to ensure that the policy ultimately adopted is appropriate, and has the impact so urgently needed.”
Brisley said the country was expected to experience increased urbanisation, which will put strain on urban sanitation systems.
But at the same time, growing and changing settlements in rural areas are also putting pressure on small and limited sanitation systems.
Closing Africa’s infrastructure gap is a top priority in order to put the continent on a path for double digit growth and sustainable development, according to world- renowned professor of economics Prof Jeffrey Sachs.
“There is no choice. Africa needs 10% per year of economic growth in the next 15 years,” said Sachs. The only way to achieve this was to focus on large-scale investments in trans-national infrastructure projects in power, roads, broadband, and other core regional infrastructure needs.
The professor was speaking the sidelines of the Third Financing for Development Conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on 13 July. The event had the theme “Unlocking public and private capital for African infrastructure” and was organised by the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (Nepad) Agency and Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN).
The conference ends on 16 July. It is organised under the auspices of the UN’s Financing for Development office.
Thousands of delegates have gathered to set the new financing architecture for a new global partnership. Its outcomes will also address the issue of means of implementation, referring to the “how” the goals set out in the post-2015 development agenda can be achieved.
Support for Nepad goals
Sachs is the director of the SDSN and special adviser to UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon on the Millennium Development Goals. For Africa to realise the 2030 timeframe, he urged the global community to rally around the Nepad agenda, as the continent’s strategy for implementing cross-border infrastructure projects. “We need to help support Nepad achieve its goals,” he said.
The Nepad Agency has identified Africa’s most important infrastructure needs within the context of the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (Pida), which provides the framework to implement 51 priority programmes and projects in the sectors of energy, transport, broadband and trans-boundary water.
Chief executive of the Nepad Agency Dr Ibrahim Mayaki said Africa’s challenge was not a lack of resources, but a lack of bankable projects. “We need to invest in the capacity to invest.” It was about proposing structured projects, he said.
Mayaki spoke about the complementary instruments that had been developed to build the necessary capacity for early-stage project preparation and the Africa50 Fund to finance the implementation of Pida and other regional infrastructure projects.
He also underscored the important role of regional economic communities in providing the enabling environment for project implementation, through harmonised policies and regulatory frameworks.
Regarding how to crowd in investment, Sachs encouraged African economies to forge partnerships with East Asia, tap into capital markets and strengthen continental bodies such as the Nepad Agency and African Development Bank.
The Nobel laureate for economics and professor at Columbia University, Prof Joseph Stiglitz, noted that financial markets had “failed to translate pools of savings into productive investment”. There was a need to better match these large-scale resources with the financing priorities of developing countries. “The world has the resources with which to do this. Allocating more of these resources to inclusive development would be good for the global economy.”
The best way for Africa to achieve its infrastructure goals was to tap into a Global Infrastructure Investment Platform (Giip), Stiglitz said. The objective of Giip was to put forward an ambitious proposal that would allow long-term investors to ramp up their infrastructure asset holdings, with an allocation target of up to 10% of assets under management over a 15-year horizon.
The Nepad Agency, SDSN, UN Conference on Trade and Development and Washington think tank Brookings Institution agreed to set up a working group that will move Africa’s regional infrastructure financing agenda forward.
Follow Alive2Green on Social Media