WSIS event to explore challenges, solutions to e-waste
(Geneva) The transition to a more digital world is leading to a staggering increase in the use of electronic equipment – from mobile phone and computers to smart watches and printers – which also means an increase in waste. In fact, e-waste is now the fastest growing waste stream and due to often-dangerous metals contained in electronic appliances, the impact on the environment and people’s health can be severe.
To place greater emphasis on the dangers of e-waste among its partners and beneficiaries, the International Trade Centre recently joined the E-Waste Coalition. Along with two other recently joined entities of the coalition – UN Habitat and the World Health Organization – The Coalition will on April 10th host a High-Level Dialogue at the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) Forum to explore how to deal with e-waste and what actions can and should be taken.
Speakers at the session include Mr Anders Aeroe, Director for Enterprises and Institutions at the International Trade Centre; Ms Vivian Ahiayibor Meinel, Managing Director of the Ghanaian SME Recycling company City Waste Recycling; Mr Oliver Boachie, Special Advisor to Ghana's Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation; Dr Maria Neira, Director, Department of Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health, World Health Organization, and; Mr Graham Alabaster, Chief of Section, Sanitation and Waste Management, UN Habitat.
The session will look at how the transition to a digital world is offering unprecedented opportunities for innovation, entrepreneurship and growth, and how the global consumption of electrical and electronic equipment is generating extraordinary amounts of e-waste. Large dumps sites around the world have been created due to the e-waste generated.
One of the key challenges for the more environmentally sound management of e-waste in developing countries is linking the informal and formal e-waste processors and providing coaching opportunities to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
SMEs and industry associations can play a key role in unlocking collaboration within values chains to ensure more circular and sustainable approaches. ITC in collaboration with other signatories such as ITC, WHO and ILO will use their expertise to help solve these pressing issues.
‘ITC has a growing focus on environmental sustainability and social inclusion as important elements for SME competitiveness and for fostering Good Trade. ITC will contribute with these experiences to the important work of the e-waste coalition,’ Mr Aeroe said.
About the E-Waste Coalition
In total10 UN entities have committed to increasing collaboration, building partnerships and supporting Member States to address the e-waste challenge. The coalition aims to strengthen knowledge sharing, increase awareness on the topic of e-waste and inform and guide companies, consumers and policy makers.
The coalition brings together: the International Labour Organization (ILO); the International Trade Centre (ITC); the International Telecommunication Union (ITU); the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP); the United Nations Human Settlement (UN Habitat); the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO); the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR); the United Nations University (UNU); the World Health Organization (WHO), and the Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions. These entities are currently supported by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), and the World Economic Forum and coordinated by the Secretariat of the Environment Management Group (EMG).