Antwerp, February 15, 2016: Last week, a Flanders’ delegation led by the Antwerp alderman of Culture, Economics and City and Neighborhood Maintenance, Philip Heylen, boarded for a second UN mission to Beirut to join forces with the UN Environmental Program to solve the waste problem of Lebanon. Philip Heylen was accompanied by Danny Wille, general manager of the Public Waste Cooperation, OVAM, Johan Bonnier, manager of the intermunicipal utility company IMOG (representing Interafval) and Ive Vanderreydt, project manager at VITO.
With UNEP, the delegation stressed the urgent start of establishing a sustainable and integrated waste and material management and the development of a balanced solution in Lebanon. The delegation was delighted to experience that politicians, policy makers and different stakeholders have changed their minds in this direction since the mission of October 2015. The multidisciplinary team concluded that Lebanon has sufficient knowledge, know-how and strategies to elaborate and realise this waste and material management policy, in collaboration with the UNEP and the experts of Flanders.
This mission confirmed for the four partners the worldwide excellence of Flanders concerning waste and material management. Moreover, this inspired them to enter into an agreement as the knowledge and experience of Flanders in this domain can be of unvaluable use to many other countries, regions and cities. International collaboration and aiming at ameliorating the waste and material management worldwide are societal goals each of the partners aspire. This agreement and the experience at Lebanon can be the kick-off for a broad commitment of Flanders’ excellence (of authorities, research organizations and industry) in similar regions.