|A Bird's Eye View on Waste|
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It gives me great pleasure to welcome you all to this GLOBE conference on waste management. This event is the second one convened by GLOBE Southern Africa here in Cape Town at the South African Parliament. Some of you will remember that last year in September, GLOBE organised a two-day conference entitled: " PARTNERSHIPS FOR SUSTAINABILITY". At that meeting we discussed issues such as Global Climate Change, Desertification and Freshwater Resources. Today we will focus on Integrated Solid Waste Management.
Before we start our debate, I would like to present GLOBE Southern Africa and give a quick overview of the organisation's aims and objectives. For those of you not familiar with GLOBE, the organisation was founded in 1989 by Members of the European Parliament and US Congressmen. In the last ten years, GLOBE International has grown to include nearly 800 MPs from all over the world. GLOBE Southern Africa is the first GLOBE organisation to bring together parliamentarians from the so-called developing countries. It consequently has an important role to play inside the GLOBE family by bringing a Southern perspective to the organisation. We hope that in the near future other GLOBE organisations will also take shape in the Southern hemisphere and make the voice of the developing world heard both inside the GLOBE family and in other international meetings.
As I mentioned, GLOBE Southern Africa is a rather young organisation that was launched in April last year. Since its creation, GLOBE Southern Africa has been joined by over 140 environmentally dedicated parliamentarians from 15 countries in Southern and East Africa. The main aim of GLOBE is to inform parliamentarians about existing and upcoming environmental issues. To forge innovative responses which integrate the social, economic and environmental aspects of sustainable development. To enhance the flow of information between the different parliaments in the region with a view towards learning from each others experience and work. And finally, to create a close working relationship between Southern African MPs in order to promote a coordinated approach when dealing with environmental issues.
GLOBE stands for Global Legislators Organisation for a Balanced Environment. The key word here, is "balanced". It is GLOBE's intention to work towards a more balanced world where environmental protection and economic development can and indeed must go hand in hand. In this respect, parliamentarians have a vital role to play, they are the link between their respective governments and the people they represent. They are also legislative decision-makers and thus have a powerful role to play by making sure that the laws they enact take into account the need to protect the environment. All of us here should never forget that our environment has become extremely vulnerable and that it is urgent to reverse our unsustainable production and consumption patterns. This is particularly true for the North. But we here in the South should also be careful so as not to reproduce these same mistakes by launching ourselves on an unsustainable development path. At some stage we will have to clean up our mess and this might prove to be very costly. Not only in economic terms but also from a social and environmental standpoint. It is therefore important that we now come together to find new and innovative ways of dealing with our waste, and that it is taken on board as a resource to be managed in an holistic and integrated manner. It is vital that we develop the appropriate systems now so as to prevent the problem from simply snowballing into the future. I therefore believe that this conference represents a small but important step in that direction. I hope that all of you gathered here today, whether you be a parliamentarian, an academic, member of a non-governmental organisation, or simply a concerned individual, each takes something away from this regional forum and that it will in some small measure contribute to a more sustainable pattern of life in the Southern and East African regions.