As I was flying from Buenos Aires to Frankfurt I was thinking about the ARS (Argentinean ISWA National member) Beacon Conference on Sustainable landfills I just attended. And I have to say that I was happy enough considering that the event was a great success for both ISWA and ARS.

For ARS, it was an event with massive participation (up to 500 hundred people) and excellent representation of more or less all the levels of government and municipalities. What a recognition for ARS and the restless efforts that they made! It is really impressive how many people are really interesting for waste management in a country that has just started to recover from an almost lethal financial crisis.

It is more impressive if you consider that such an interest is combined with lack of financial resources that could support infrastructure development.

For me, the first real lesson of the event was that ARS influence has really started to grow, maybe faster that ARS’ people consider. The second lesson is that there is a growing need for education and training in specific waste management issues, that ARS has the capacity to cover and thus there is a huge opportunity for strengthening of it.

For ISWA, the event was a proof of the successful work and promotion made by the Regional Development Network and of the political recognition it can have.

The example of Argentina is a real Beacon for all national members that may help them to understand the real power and strength that can be utilized from their membership to ISWA. Further, the example of Argentina proves that not all matters are related with financial resources and official policies: even with their absence, an active and well networked organization can deliver a lot and gain serious recognition.

Because the real and the most important difference is made by the passion, the quality and the commitment of the people involved – we should never forget that finally and after all ISWA is and will be an NGO that promotes sustainable waste management in practice which means through and by more and more informed, educated and globally oriented human resources!

Special thanks to Ricardo, Atilio, Sole and Maria for their (as always) perfect hospitality and logistics – guys I wish we could have two or three of you more in other countries.

Last but not least: combining those really good friends with the magnificent Buenos Aires explains why every time an Argentinean event is finished I wonder when the next will be. Even in the middle of the worst financial crisis in Greece…


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