United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development


I should state at the outset that Ireland is fully aligned with the
statement made on behalf of the European Union.
The current challenge posed by the economic downturn also
presents opportunities. Those opportunities are rooted in the
compelling reasons for moving from a focus on residual waste
management towards policies driven by prevention, minimisation,
reuse and recycling, policies which view waste as a valuable
resource rather than a problem that is literally buried.
Much more needs to be done to drive the prevention of waste.
Ireland has led the way in the use of economic instruments to
deliver behavioural changes. The levy on plastic bags has
reduced the per capita usage of such bags by more than 90% in
the period since its introduction in 2001. I note with interest the
Secretary General?s observation in his report on waste
management on the progress being made by Tanzania, Kenya and
Uganda on restricting the use of plastic bags. This is reflective of
the progress being made by communities in the developing world
in developing better waste management practices.
18th session of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development, May 2010

I am currently revising Ireland?s landfill levy system to encompass
other residual waste treatment facilities to ensure waste which can
be recycled is not drawn to lower tiers of the waste hierarchy, and
to focus the minds of the producers of waste on the volumes they
Ireland?s waste prevention programme has a number of initiatives
aimed at both individuals and businesses. I am encouraged by the
development, as part of the programme, of online facilities which
provide audit tools in respect of water, waste and energy. The
users of these tools have made significant savings for their
businesses, showing that what?s good for the environment is also
good for the ?bottom line? on which business is focused.
While individual States can make progress, our engagement with
multinational industries is immeasurably strengthened if we speak
as one. Therefore, I am encouraged by the debate here today and
the commitment of all members to the issue.
We need to support innovative entrepreneurs in developing
sustainable uses for resources which are currently consigned to
18th session of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development, May 2010
landfills or incinerators. The development of green technologies
has been identified as a key component in the recovery of
economies worldwide.
I have recently published a report reviewing Ireland?s waste
management policy. The report will underpin the development of
new policies which will have as their driving principle a resourcebased
sustainable approach to waste management. I will be
setting challenging targets for those involved in the production,
collection and management of waste.
We are at a crossroads in the development of sustainable waste
management. We need to seize the opportunities presented and
we in Ireland intend to be to the forefront in innovation in resourcebased
waste management.
Thank you