The Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE), UAE, in cooperation with The Centre of Waste Management Abu Dhabi-Tadweer, hosted a joint workshop with a delegation from the Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG), Korea, headed by Mayor Park Won-soon. The event held early May 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, as per a WAM report.
The workshop fell within the scope of a memorandum of understanding 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, 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. “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 programme is crucial when it comes to safeguarding human health and the environment.”
“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,” he added.
Mayor Park from SMG 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.”
“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,” he stated.
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, adding 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.
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.
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.