Improving Solid Waste Management for Greener Growth in Romania
To improve solid waste management and reduce harmful emissions and their negative impacts on the environment, the Government of Romania participated in an exchange with Turkey. They gained a broader understanding of the technical components of waste management, innovative methods to convert waste into energy, and the importance of a strong waste management plan to sustainable economic and green growth.
The Government of Romania sought to identify sustainable ways to improve solid waste management, increase the climate resilience of cities, and reduce harmful emissions resulting from overuse and mismanagement of landfills. In Romania, waste management had largely taken the form of land filling and this resulted in high levels (99%) of greenhouse gas emissions. The government therefore set goals to reduce emissions through the diversion of recyclable and biodegradable materials. They instituted numerous reforms as part of the 2014-2020 EU budgetary cycle to support shifts toward a low-carbon economy and promote climate change adaptation, risk prevention, and management. In 2013, the government also approved a National Climate Change Strategy with adaption and mitigation measures.
Despite the progress made, the government still lacked the technical and operational knowledge to develop innovative approaches to solid waste management and make it part of its larger economic and development agendas.
The Romanian government requested support from the World Bank to implement an exchange with Turkey, which has had success in implementing innovative approaches to solid waste management. The primary component of the exchange was the support of Romanian officials to attend the Economics of Green Growth Peer Assisted Learning (EGGPAL) conference in Istanbul, Turkey. The goal was to learn from Turkey’s expertise and that of other EGGPAL network members, how each is developing technical capacity, policies, and activities to combat the negative impacts on the environment and promote sustainable and green economic growth. The conference placed waste management in a larger developmental context and focused on the potential economic benefits of innovative waste management and environmental reforms, and how they could positively impact climate change.
The conference was held May 14-16, 2014 in Istanbul, and included plenary and breakout sessions addressed by leading policy-makers and technical experts. In attendance were officials from Romania, public and private sector experts from Turkey, officials from more than 26 Europe and Central Asian countries, Bank experts, and United Nation’s representatives. In addition to participating in the conference, the Romanians conducted bilateral discussions with their Turkish counterparts on solid waste management. Topics covered included green jobs, exploiting the economic potential of low emission transportation, public investment choices on climate adaptation, and successful examples of urban waste.
Overall, the exchange:
- Raised awareness and enhanced knowledge as the Romanian participants left the EGGPAL conference with an improved ability to analyze and understand the economics and technology of solid waste management. In particular the technical details of waste management and the innovative ways to convert waste into energy, shared by the private sector company, ITC of Turkey, were highlighted as eye-opening for Romanian participants.
- Increased capacity of the Romanian government evidenced by the improved understanding among participants on innovative ways to manage solid waste in ways that would be economically efficient while maintaining a consciousness of the challenges of climate change.
- Enhanced networks.to the Romanian government established face-to-face relationships with the Turkish experts and representatives from 26 other countries in attendance at the EGGPAL conference.
“Waste management is not usually the first thing policymakers think about when they think about climate change actions but it’s a sector that can contribute quite a lot with good management and innovative approaches.” – Ali Kantur, ITC Ankara
- A bilateral knowledge exchange can have a significant multiplier effect when the exchange is combined with an existing conference or networking activity. By participating in the EGGPAL conference, Romanian officials received direct technical guidance and expertise from their Turkish counterparts as well as formal and informal sharing of expertise with representatives from 26 other countries in attendance.
- Private sector inclusion in an exchange is key to providing practical examples of effective policies in practice. In this exchange, the presence of ITC Integrated Solid Waste Management Systems of Turkey allowed participants to hear and learned about cutting edge tools and technologies in waste management such as the design of machines to recycle, gasify, and compost waste, and how the resultant heat was used by a grow tomatoes.
The Bank’s primary contribution was facilitating the exchange and providing financial support through the South-South Facility. Members of the Bank and the IFC team also made key presentations at the conference.
The primary partners in this exchange were representatives of the Department of Environment and Sustainable Development in the Turkish Ministry of Development, and invited guests of the World Bank who participated as session leaders, plenary speakers, and discussants at the EGGPAL conference. The primary private sector provider of knowledge was the ITC Integrated Solid Waste Management Systems from Turkey. Other countries represented included Korea, Sri Lanka, the United Kingdom, FYR Macedonia, Denmark, and, Poland.
Romania and Turkey have committed to retain contact and communication. In particular, Turkey has agreed to continue providing the technical expertise sought by Romania. As a result of the EGGPAL conference, discussions are underway for a site visit by Romania to Turkey.
The key beneficiary of the exchange was the Romanian Ministry of Environment and Climate Change. However, countries present at the EGGPAL event gained knowledge and insights into best practices and innovative technological options to improve solid waste management and mitigate the harmful effects that result from mismanaged and overused landfills.
- The Second Annual EGGPAL Conference: http://greengeorgia.ge/?q=node/189
- ITC Integrated Solid Waste Management Systems: http://www.itcturkiye.com/en
- Climate Actions and Green Growth Solutions Across Europe and Central Asia: Building a Network for Knowledge Sharing and Technical Assistance: http://www.worldbank.org/en/results/2014/04/10/climate-actions-and-green-growth-solutions-across-europe-and-central-asia
- Video: The Economics of Green Growth and Climate Change in Europe and Central Asia: http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/video/2014/02/26/economics-of-green-growth-and-climate-change-in-europe-and-central-asia: