» Management of e-waste in LAC - Smart Sustainable Cities
14.03.2014 - UNESCO Montevideo Office

Management of e-waste in LAC - Smart Sustainable Cities

‘Environmentally Sound Management of e-waste in Latin America and the Caribbean’: Day 2 of the UNESCO, ITU and the Uruguayan government series of one off events dedicated to ‘Smart Sustainable Cities’

Wednesday 12th March 2014, was day two of the series of events on ‘Smart Sustainable Cities’ held in Montevideo (Uruguay) and was dedicated to ‘Environmentally Sound Management of e-waste in Latin America’. This Forum brought together a number of national and international experts, government officials, private sector representatives, international organisations, students and civil society organisations.

The event was opened by Mr Sergio De Cola, Director, National Directorate of Telecommunications, Ministry of Industry, Energy and Mining (MIEM – DINATEL), Uruguay, Ms Marisol Mallo, Director, National Environment Planning Unit (DINAMA), Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment (MVOTMA) and Mr Ahmed Zeddam, Chairman, ITU-T Study Group 5 “Environment and Climate Change”.

Mr Ahmed Zeddam, in his opening speech pointed out “technology has come a long way and is changing the way we work, function, travel, by permeating into the very fabric of our existence. The 21st century can be seen as the century bursting with technology; smart phones, 3D televisions, interactive cars, electronics are getting faster, smarter, more efficient and convenient by the minute. The ever rising rate of electronic turnover has led to high amount of e-waste.” According to the United Nations University ‘67 million metric tons of electrical and electronic equipment leading to 53 million metric tons e-waste were disposed of worldwide.

Mr Alexandre Barbosa, General Manager, UNESCO Regional Center for Developing Information Society, in his presentation ´The importance of indicators and metrics in policymaking and policy assessment’ highlighted that this was a very complicated area to assess, however it is very necessary to make advances in measuring the impacts of policies related to e-waste. He specifically underlined the importance statistics relates to ICTs for the creation of public policies and for the monitoring process.

Mr Dickson Kwesiga, Manager Administration, Uganda Communications Commission gave an insightful presentation, ‘E-waste Management, Uganda’s Journey’. He informed the public of the increase use of ICTs in Uganda and the development of its national e-waste policy and strategies.

All experts coincided in there is evidently a growing amount of e-waste worldwide and it is having a severe, negative and harmful impact on the environment and human health, especially for children. The challenge, therefore, is to foster smart public policies and implement international standards (e.g. ITU’s universal charger for mobile phones) to address this issue.

The series of events will continue as from this Thursday 13th March covering issues such as the Role of ICT in Smart Water Management, Partnering for ICT Solutions and Friday 14th March the Involvement of Academia in Standardization in Latin America. Please follow the link: www.itu.int/en/ITU-T/Workshops-and-Seminars/Pages/URY-2014.aspx for more information about the events and for a copy of the full programme and presentations.

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