The 4th International Miteco Forum "The Future Is Asking You", attended by more than 200 visitors, was successfully concluded. The Forum organized two panel discussions on which numerous questions were raised and adequate answers provided: Climate Change and Waste Management and Industrialization.
The Future Is Asking You, MITECO Forum
The first panel discussion was moderated by Prof. Dr. Aleksandar Jovović from the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, University of Belgrade. The participants were Assoc.Prof.,Ph.D. Vladimir Đurđević, Faculty of Physics, University of Belgrade, Željko Pantelić, Ministry of Agriculture and Environmental Protection, Dušan Stokić M.Sc., Serbian Chamber of Commerce, Prof. Dr. Goran Vujić, SeSWA.
Reforming the system of financing
The panelist voiced the need for reforming the system of financing within the waste management system by setting up an appropriate Fund, as well as the need for further reform of regulations, particularly in reference to waste treatment and the stage when waste ceases to be waste and becomes a product. There is also need for analyzing the existing licenses for waste management, for restructuring and consolidation of the public utility companies through new forms of cooperation.
Historical waste – a strategic issue
The participants of the panel discussion pointed out that a status analysis of the waste management area showed the following: historical waste presents a strategic issue in this area, and present day companies undergoing bankruptcy or in restructuring are not capable of solving this problem.
Industrial waste requires systemic solutions
The panelists pointed out that it is necessary to solve the issues of industrial/hazardous waste within the system by building appropriate facilities for waste treatment, with a significantly higher degree of public participation in the selection of location, technical solutions and other questions of interest.
It is necessary to include utilization of certain kinds of industrial waste, particularly from the sector of thermal energy, in the civil engineering industry.
Also, it is necessary to intensify the system of control and supervision by strengthening the inspection services, eliminating grey economy and unfair competition. Another important point is developing ecological awareness by improving family and school based education, as well as bringing in domestic scientific – research organizations and projects in the waste management field.
Need for greater investment in the system of prevention and new methods
One of the conclusions of this panel was that public utility companies are not sufficiently technically and organizationally equipped to react in emergency situations such as floods.
It was pointed out that the large number of wild landfills is being reduced very slowly, in view of the fact that in most cases waste is deposited there even after the site has been cleaned.
In order for the waste management system to cease being a theoretical term and for it to become something that is practiced, larger investments in the system of prevention, new methods (ecodesign, etc.) and standard are required. Waste markets need to be organized in such a way as to enable waste flow through legal channels, preventing illegal trade and sale.
Climate change in the EU
Some of the discussions reflected the situation world-wide and in the EU. Pointed out were estimates that a rise in warming of 2 degrees, compared to the period prior to industrialization, can bring about a loss of up to 2% of global annual income. Also pointed out was that the EU Energy Policy 20/20/20 is amended with a new plan: "Energy and Climate Goals for 2030" – reduction of CO2 emission by 40% and increasing the share of renewable energy to 27%. The economic implications of implementation of this policy will be a reduction of the European GNP up to 0.45%.
Also presented were some of the conclusions from the 2014 IPCC meeting held in Yokahama, and pointed out was that the negative effect on the GNP could be limited if emission tax applied to all the industry, with simultaneously reducing labor related taxes. It is estimated that slowing down and adaption to climate change requires at least 20% of the EU budget for the 2014-2020 period. At the same time, a great potential for development of "green" work places in the production of energy, energy efficiency, waste management, etc., with the application of stated measures can result in a GNP increase of 1% and can generate approximately 2 million "green" jobs by 2030.
Industrialization and circular economy opportunity for development
The second panel was moderated Prof. Dr. Ana Trbović, Faculty of Economics, Finance and Administration, and the participants were Peter Hodecek, FEAD Expert, Prof. Dr. Anđelka Mihajlov, Environmental Ambassador for Sustainable Development, Adele Paris, IFC and Sunčica Vještica, Tarkett d.o.o.
Pointed out was that European industry today strives to achieve sustainable growth in a way which is efficient for the resources and healthy for the environment. The basis for such growth is in enabling a more circular economy, meaning that waste should be reduced, reused or recycled into new products, or used in the production of energy.
It was also pointed out that in July 2014 the European Commission proposed a revision of the EU legislation regulating waste. That was when ambitious long-term goals were set, relating to the period up to 2025 and 2030. Pointed out was the importance of further developing recycling, reducing the number of landfills, and it was concluded that the waste and resources industry are critical areas for ensuring secondary raw materials for the European industry, stimulating private sector investments in raw materials management infrastructure, and the importance of this field in creating sustainable economic growth and new jobs, all with a view to stimulating a circular economy.