The REC, acting as sub-regional secretariat for Central and Eastern Europe, Turkey and Black Sea countries, has expanded its global presence by taking part in a two-day event held in Seoul, Republic of Korea. On September 5-6, the International Partnership for Expanding Waste Management Services of Local Authorities (IPLA) staged its Global Forum 2012 under the title of "Empowering Municipalities in Building a Zero Waste Society: A Vision for Post-Rio+20 Sustainable Urban Development". The Forum was hosted by the Republic of Korea's Ministry of Environment and the United Nations Center for Regional Development (UNCRD).
At the Forum, REC Deputy Executive Director Radoje Lausevic outlined how the REC's experience methodological tools can help city and municipal authorities to fundamentally orient their policies towards resource efficiency and zero-waste targets. Forum participants showed particular interest in the REC's framework programme for expanding waste management services of local authorities (EWAMS). By participating in the IPLA Forum, the REC is acting on its Rio+20 recommendations on sustainable cities, discussing with Forum participants how municipalities in developing countries can achieve zero-waste societies.
While the IPLA Forum stressed that cities and municipalities hold primary responsibility for waste management practices, it was also noted that any movement towards resource efficient and zero-waste society is inherently a multi‐stakeholder process that calls for a wide range of partnerships within and between communities, business, industries and all levels of government. The REC's role as a bridge between various stakeholders and experience in providing a neutral discussion platform can be very helpful in facilitating such processes.
The IPLA, launched at CSD-19 in New York in May 2011, aims to address various challenges and capacity needs of local authorities in achieving sustainable waste management. Its mission is to share knowledge, to communicate across national boundaries, and to help accelerate the uptake of waste‐related infrastructure and services at various stages of waste management. Regarding the latter, such best practices include avoidance, prevention, minimisation, segregation, collection, transport, recycling, recovery, reuse treatment and disposal. The IPLA serves as a 'dynamic knowledge platform' and 'decentralised network' amongst a wide range of partners. The REC's roles as sub-regional secretariat are to: address zero-waste policies and programmes in the region; network with potential partners and institutions active in the field of waste management; share best practices and experiences from the region; and, share best practices, case studies and innovative policy initiatives from the region for dissemination through IPLA channels.
The IPLA Web Portal was officially launched during the Forum's closing session and is now publicly available to all IPLA members and interested individuals.