The Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, MOCCAE, in cooperation with Abu Dhabi Waste Management Center, Tadweer, today hosted a joint workshop with a delegation from the Seoul Metropolitan Government,SMG, in the Republic of Korea, headed by Mayor Park Won-soon. The event aimed to exchange best practices in circular economy and waste management with a special focus on the Seoul Upcycling Plaza, the world’s largest upcycling cultural complex space.
The workshop fell within the scope of a memorandum of understanding,MoU, signed between MOCCAE and SMG in February 2019, that facilitates the exchange of best practices in waste recycling between the two entities.
The workshop drew the participation of Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, Dr Jaber Al Jabri, Deputy Secretary General of the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi,EAD, and Dr Salem Al Kaabi, Acting General Manager of Tadweer. In addition to the Korean delegation, experts from MOCCAE, Tadweer, and EAD also attended the event.
Dr Al Zeyoudi highlighted the robust strategic ties between the UAE and South Korea, buoyed by the shared commitment of their leaderships to exploring opportunities for cooperation.
Speaking on the workshop, he said: “Around the world, waste generation rates continue to surge, with statistics indicating that they will rise by as much as 70 percent between 2016 and 2050. When poorly managed, waste is a breeding ground for toxins and microbes that contaminate the air, soil, and water. It also generates harmful methane gas – a key contributor to climate change. This is why an effective, integrated, and socially supported waste management program is crucial when it comes to safeguarding human health and the environment.”
Dr Al Zeyoudi added: “Effective waste management is a core priority of the National Agenda of the UAE Vision 2021. Our integrated approach to waste management is in line with the country’s ambitious target of diverting 75 percent of municipal solid waste away from landfills by 2021.”
Mayor Park said: “The upcycle industry uses all kinds of waste generated every day to create products based on innovative designs. This industry of the future has the potential to resolve urban and social problems. It was fascinating for me to learn that the UAE, one of the largest oil-producing countries in the world, is looking for a growth engine to prepare for a post-fossil fuel future. In particular, I was impressed to hear of the country’s keen interest in learning more about our successful Seoul Upcycling Plaza.”
He added: “We look forward to cooperating with the UAE in promoting the upcycling industry and bringing the resource circulation culture to the Middle East and North Africa region.”
Highlighting the UAE’s steadfast commitment to reducing waste, Falah Al Ahbabi, Chairman of Tadweer, explained that the country is on course to develop and execute an integrated waste management strategy that meets global standards. He noted that Tadweer’s main objective is to drive public-private investments that transform the waste sector and thereby ensure a safer, more sustainable future.
Falah Al Ahbabi said that the visit of the Korean delegation aligns with the UAE government’s directives to adopt international best practices and exchange experience with pioneering countries in areas of common interest, particularly sustainable waste management. He added that the two countries share a vision of cutting down the amount of waste and turning it into an economic resource while also implementing environmentally safe waste treatment methods that leverage cutting-edge technologies.
At the workshop, experts from MOCCAE presented an overview of the UAE’s main waste management regulations, as well as its efforts in combating the increasing amounts of waste generated. These included municipal solid waste treatment, landfill rehabilitation, the construction of a refuse-derived fuel,RDF, facility in the emirate of Umm Al Quwain, and the launch of the National Waste Database.
They also outlined the integrated national waste management strategy, currently under development, that will chart out an action plan for the sound management of waste in the UAE. The strategy will reflect best practices in waste management as applied in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development,OECD, the European Union,EU, Japan, and the US.
Meanwhile, specialists from Tadweer and EAD zoomed in on waste management initiatives and policies in Abu Dhabi. They provided insights into the status quo with regard to waste generation and treatment and also shed light on their plans to accommodate the growing volume of waste.
For their part, experts from the Republic of Korea delivered a presentation on Seoul’s resource circulation drive and the successful outcomes of the Seoul Upcycling Plaza.
Ahead of the workshop, Dr Al Zeyoudi and Mayor Park met to discuss mutual areas of cooperation and share experiences pertaining to waste management.