#ISWAatCOP: Marc’s Musings for the first week of COP28

Dec 8, 2023 | ISWA blog, ISWA news, Working Groups

Marc Tijhuis

Marc Tijhuis

Managing Director, ISWA

Photo Credit: Photo by COP28 / Andrea Dicenzo



Unfortunately I will not be part, in person, of the second week of UNFCCC COP28 in Dubal. With a bit of sadness I will travel back to snowy and cold Northern Europe. Sadness, as I will miss part of the real momentum which is tangible for sound waste management at COP during the whole week.

It is heart warming that global leaders acknowledge the significant link between Waste and Resource Management to tackle Climate Change. The link between Waste and Resource management to tackle climate change is direct and undeniable.

Earlier this year we were thrilled that The United Nations Secretary-General announced in his speech at the High-Level Meeting of the UN General Assembly in New York that he is establishing an Advisory Board of Eminent Persons on Zero Waste (sharing success stories of national and local zero-waste initiatives) Besides her Excellency the First Lady of Türkiye also the International Solid Waste Association’s President Carlos Silva Filho is part of the Advisory Board.

Photo Credit: Photo by COP28 / Mahmoud Khaled

The momentum which started earlier this year, landed definitely, in the Middle East. Especially the legitimate attention for methane reduction triggered many initiatives. The potential of reducing methane will help the waste and resource management sector not being a neglected asset in the global climate strategy anymore.

As an eye catching initiative, John Kerry, U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, launched the LOW Methane initiative. The initiative aims to accelerate and scale-up of global action to cut methane emissions from the waste sector.

LOW-Methane will bring together a broad consortium and their national government counterparts to unlock $10 billion to deliver at least 1 million metric tons of annual waste sector methane reductions well before 2030.

Another momentum was felt during an extraordinary COP28 Presidency event. For the first time ever a dedicated event on Waste was organised in the main theatre. ‘No Time to Waste: Closing the Climate Loop’. ISWA was invited to participate to bring our work to the attention of the audience of country leaders and their delegations.

HE Mariam bint Mohammed Saeed Hareb Almheiri, UAE Minister of Climate Change & Environment, launched during the event the first voluntary coalition around best practices of waste management. The Global Initiative for Waste Decarbonization aims to formalize waste management practices and engage stakeholders worldwide to decarbonize the sector, unlock economic opportunities, and contribute to global climate change mitigation efforts.


In an additional panel Maimunah Mohd Sharif, CEO of UN-Habitat addressing the importance of sound waste management in cities globally. Waste from homes, markets, businesses and institutions is thrown on the streets, in drains, dumped next to communities or openly burnt.

Hopeful is the development of the Waste Wise Cities program where currently around 300 cities creating livelihood opportunities and contribute to healthier communities. Connected to this the African Clean City Platform (ACCP), launched in 2017 grew to 173 cities in 46 African countries. ISWA will definitely give attention to the municipal approaches at our World Congress next year in Cape Town.

Not less important are initiatives on voluntary recycling credits, methane mitigation mechanism (triple M) and the launch of the Waste MAP, the first-ever global platform to use satellite monitoring to track and measure the locations and amounts of methane emissions from the waste sector.

Waste, seen as resources, truly has created momentum. I am convinced ISWA’s first ever Waste and Resources pavilion contributed to this.

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