I spent three fruitful days in Tunis participating in the first meeting of SWEEP – Net (Solid Waste Exchange of Information and Expertise Network). This is an initiative supported by GTZ, Germany and the Tunisian ANGed, trying to promote sustainable waste management in the countries of Middle East and North Africa (MENA region) through adequate common activities and political agendas.
This is the first time I felt that something is moving in this so difficult as well as so troubled area of the world. Thanks to the efforts of the SWEEP – Net General Secretariat representatives from Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Lebanon, Palestine, Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Yemen, Mauritania and the Arab League were gathered and made an intensive workshop concerning the key-priorities on waste management, the strategy of the network, institutional consolidation, working groups etc.
I was positively surprised by some facts. First it was the level of some presentations which have been really well elaborated by the speakers. Second it was the feeling of “the necessity of such an initiative” I received from a lot of participants. Third, it was the understanding that although waste management is underestimated in the political agendas in this area, there are very well educated human resources that could upgrade it and deliver serious results.
So I left Tunis with more hopes for the future of waste management in MENA than I went there. And I think ISWA would be a real supporter and part of this network too, since it has a lot to offer and it is very well perceived.
Needless to say that I found some old and I made some new friends there (hopefully they think the same). I always feel very comfortable between Arabs and the hospitality provided by the organizers was a great one and really promoted the development of good relationships.
Thanks a lot to Anis Ismail, secretary general of SWEP- Net for his help and hospitality. And I hope we will soon meet again and deliver real results through SWEEP – Net.
Last but not least. For everyone that has not yet been to Tunisia, I can provide a guarantee of an unexpected warm and high – level hospitality by friendly people within the framework of a real impressive landscape and cultural monuments. Do not miss it if there is such an opportunity.