The CReWAS Conference
IESS in collaboration with the United Nations University – Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (UNU-MERIT), under the aegis of the Worldwide Universities Network (WUN) held its annual conference on the theme ‘Climate Resilience and Waste Management for Sustainable Development (CReWAS)’. Over 120 participants across the globe, comprising academia, policy makers, practitioners and civil society organisations participated in the two-day international conference that took place from 16 –17 October 2019 at the International House, University of Ghana. Topics covered included:
- Climate change impacts and adaptation
- Climate smart agriculture
- Enhancing resilience in the coastal zone
- Solid waste research and management
- Liquid waste, sanitation and hygiene research and management
- Resource use efficiency and circular economy
- Sustainable production and consumption
- Green entrepreneurship
- Information systems for environmental management
The effects of climate change and improper waste management on the environment have attracted national and international attention in recent times. The CReWAS Conference therefore sought to;
- Provide a platform for both seasoned and young scholars as well as entrepreneurs to present relevant research work and sustainable business models.
- Discuss and share ideas on key aspects of climate resilience, waste management and innovative business models for sustainable development.
- Showcase innovative concepts, decision support tools and prototype technologies for climate resilience and waste management.
The CReWAS Conference featured:
- Keynote addresses and statements by Policymakers and University Leaders
- Panel discussions with national & international academics and sustainability entrepreneurs on the topic “The Climate-Sanitation Challenge: Is the Circular economy a panacea for Sustainable Development”
- A special UNU-MERIT multi-stakeholder forum on urban solid waste management on the theme “Transitions towards a Circular Economy: A Cross-National Study of Urban Solid Waste Management’’
- Over 30 presentations covering various topics
- A plenary highlighting key presentations and the way forward
In his opening remarks, the Provost of the College of Basic and Applied Sciences (CBAS) of the University of Ghana, Prof. Asiedu said the conference marks another stride by IESS to highlight some of the key challenges of humanity and bring together stakeholders to exchange ideas on ways to address the challenges towards achieving the 2030 targets.
He noted that as humans seek comfort and wellbeing, unsustainable resource exploitation and use, and unfriendly production technologies and undesirable consumption patterns are profoundly affecting the environment on the backdrop of increasing population, urbanisation and changes in the environment including climate change. Addressing these challenges requires evidence-based policies and action programmes targeted at specific individuals and multiple problems. He called for teamwork and collaboration among researchers, practitioners, policy, private sector and civil society in order to understand the complexities to aid the design and implementation of appropriate actions and interventions, noting CReWAS as an important aspect of the process.
He elaborated the CBAS objective of supporting and driving the University’s research agenda as well as efforts at forging partnership with government, industry and the private sector in order to make research results impactful across levels. He commended IESS for its role in research and impact, noting its role in authoring the recent State of the Environment (SoE) Report and being the anchor for the VC Green Project and the University of Ghana Plastic Recycling Project (UGPRP) among other initiatives. These undertakings, he said are in line with the University’s strategic plan (2014-2024) to evolve and shape innovations to become exemplary of best environmental practice to help mitigate environmental change and promote resource efficiency and promote livelihoods.
Provost of CBAS, University of Ghana
Delivering the keynote address, honourable Dr. Emmanuel Lamptey, the Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) of the Ga Central Assembly noted that the issue of waste management is dear to the heart of policy makers including the President of the republic, who is so desirous of ridding Accra of waste, and a co-chair of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Focusing on solid waste, he indicated that waste management was critical to achieving the SDGs, noting that improper waste management harms the environment, human health and causes environmental change. He noted that though the SDG 6 mandates the achievement of 100% basic sanitation by 2030, only 15% of the 27 million Ghanaians have access to improved basic sanitation. Challenges such as rapid urbanisation, population growth, surge in waste generation especially in cities affect waste management, calling for sustainable approaches that are technically and economically viable for governments and the private sector.
He enumerated the impacts of poor waste management including its impacts on oceans, health and climate change. With respect to waste collection and treatment as key challenges to waste management, he noted that the Ga Central Municipality has embarked on a smart waste collection system and a waste-energy technology in collaboration with private sector service providers. The smart system involves a Point of Sale (POS) device that allows for monitoring by the assembly while the waste-energy technology is currently generating 9.8MW of power. In wishing the participants well, the MCE was hopeful that the deliberations would stimulate clear directions for waste management in the country.
MCE, Ga Central
The panel discussion the theme ‘The Climate-Sanitation Challenge: Is the Circular economy a panacea for Sustainable Development?’ explored climate, waste management/circular economy and sustainability entrepreneurship futures based on existing practices and the need for sustainability. Mr. Venan Sondo moderated the session that had Prof. Chris Gordon, Dr. Josiane Nikiema and Ing. I.B Nartey-Tokoli as panelists.
The special UNU-MERIT multi-stakeholder forum featured two panel discussions:
- The SMW system in Ghana, Uganda and South Africa: challenges, opportunities and ways forward and
- Circular economy practices and sustainable social entrepreneurship
The forum brought insights on co-designed innovative solutions for inclusive and sustainable urban environments through efficient Municipal Solid Waste Management (MSWM) and value creation from waste. There was also knowledge sharing on diverse issues in different cities to build collective insights on the nature of possible transition pathways to circular economy and possible cooperation pathways between Europe, emerging and developing countries to contribute transitions to a circular economy. Academics from Europe and Ghana delivered presentations on various topics, among these included:
- Comparison of MSW management systems in terms of governance, citizens movement, corporate responsibility;
- Impact of waste and value creation from waste (food waste, emissions, non-food valorisation of food chain resources, etc.);
- Behavioural change strategies towards a circular economy;
- Policy tools and governance issues to enhance sustainable waste management
Prof Shyama V. Ramani, UNU-MERIT
The IESS-WUN Collaboration
IESS was established in 2010, at the request of the Government of Ghana in response to several drivers, enablers and outcomes that are key to the nation’s development. The institute employs interdisciplinary and participatory approaches to train future scientists, managers and decision makers who contribute to the protection, management and development of the country’s environment and natural resources. The Institute’s collaboration with the UNU-MERIT is part of efforts to continue its relevance and ensure that its students are exposed to international opportunities and cross-fertilization of ideas and scholarship.
Further Information on the CReWAS Conference
- Click here to watch the proceedings of the CReWAS Conference
- Follow the discussions of the Conference on Twitter at #CReWAS2019
- Relevant papers from the Conference would be published in a Special Issue of West African Journal of Applied Ecology (WAJAE)
- Read the conference reports here