ISWA 2012 World Solid Waste Congress (see web-site) will take place in Florence, Italy, from September 15th to 19th.  As long as I am involved in ISWA I have never seen a more detailed, in-time and efficient preparation and it seems that due to that preparation a very successful event is prepared. I thought that an interview with David Newman, ISWA’s Vice- President and key-person of ISWA 2012 organization, will provide interesting insights to all of us about that event. And here it is.
“David, we have heard a lot about ISWA 2012 in Florence and I have to say that there are expectations created both inside and outside ISWA about your conference in middle September 2012. Tell us what’s new about your conference? What is different about it?
Well, we started working on it three years ago, this gives us a lot of time to talk to people and understand what themes are most interesting to everyone, this means we have elaborated a programme widely shared around the world, both within ISWA and outside.
Visiting ISWA 2012 web-site, which actually is a very functional and informative one, my interest was directly grabbed by a phrase. It is written that “The World Solid Waste Congress 2012 will define the effectiveness of the waste management industry for years to come”. Why is that? What are the expectations for the participation of the solid waste industry to your conference? 
We are facing a crucial moment, as waste production booms out of control in developing countries. Florence will be an “alarm bell” calling the industry, politicians and authorities to order to affront this huge challenge. In this the Congress differs from previous years because we expect a very wide participation from developing countries and the participation of UNEP is an indicator of how serious the challenge is.
What is the expected participation from a scientific point of view? Could you give us an idea of abstracts submitted and the highlights of the conference program?
We are overwhelmed by about 650 abstracts, and this has caused us a delay in peer reviewing and deciding on a final programme. Half of these are from academics, a wonderful result.  There will be space for 240 speakers so scientists will play a significant role in the Congress. And of course the ISWA report on Globalisation will be a strong focus point.
 Are there any particular events for non-European participants? Because sometimes ISWA’s conferences in Europe are too much European…

Indeed as I said we expect many non European participants and have a very low registration fee to help them be present. We have a strong focus on Latin America, South East Europe, the Mashreq and Mahgreb countries as well as three sessions dedicated to rapidly developing low income countries. I think this year we will see a good balance between first, second and developing world speakers and attendees.

I suppose that the conference will also have a special role for the Italian waste management industry. I would like you to comment on that, especially under the view of the current crisis which seems to create significant impacts to our industry
We are dedicating some sessions to more domestic issues, like the ongoing Naples situation, waste planning in the host region of Tuscany, waste collection in historic city centers; but of course Italians will be present in many other sessions bringing their incredible innovative experiences in terms of management of services and plants as well coming to learn from the experiences of others. It’s a good mix.

Let’s not forget this is also a time for celebration and in Florence ISWA will be making three awards, for the best scientific publication, for the best communications campaign, and also for the first time to the best newspaper journalist. And a time for fun, to enjoy some Tuscan hospitality and site seeing. Did you know that Florence alone holds 25% of the World UNESCO heritage sites ? And is the second most loved city in the world for American tourists ?

Thanks a lot David – see you all in Florence!

2 Comments
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