United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Major Group: Children & Youth

Thank you Mr Chair for the floor.
The Major Group for Youth and Children recognises the need for more effective waste
management as an integral part to the achievement of sustainable development. The issue is
complex, and we cannot overlook its fundamental connection to sustainable consumption and
There are 2 proposals that we wish to bring up.
To achieve sustainable waste management, we need to shift the mindsets of individuals and
institutions. Our actions do not reflect patterns of sustainable consumption and production, thus
our waste management systems are not able to cope. We must re-think our norms and values,
become actively conscious of the impact of our daily actions and change our behaviours
Ladies and gentlemen, by a show of hands, how many here have used more than 5 paper cups just
within these past 3 days, here at the CSD? This is just one small example of the pervasiveness of
waste in our daily lives, which therefore highlights the need for individuals to become active agents
of change with regard to waste management. To achieve this, there is a need for both formal and
informal education - with individuals and institutions alike - to enable us to move away from the
existing systems and mentalities that define us. Youths especially, have the passion and the ability,
through informal education and interactive media, to induce a societal change.
Systems and institutions need to match our ideas. As Dr Connett mentioned in his panelist speech
yesterday, industries need to have the infrastructure for zero-waste capabilities.
Globalization, faster transportation systems, and economies of scale have provided for
economically efficient production, assembly, and delivery of goods. It is thus evident that we have
the capacity to design and implement massive technological advancements, so why do we find
ourselves unable to effectively deal with waste? Undesirable financial costs cannot overrule the
social and environmental costs of poor waste management, especially with regards to hazardous
waste and e-waste.
It is imperative that the life-cycle approach of waste be taken into account, and we propose that
capacity building for waste management be greatly enhanced. Greater communication of best
practices needs to be fostered between national governments, academia and the private sector, as
constantly mentioned by the panelists and speakers. Innovative concepts such as the "cradle to
cradle" approach and "waste as food" should be integrated into planning processes, while taking
into account local circumstances. Financial provision, tough environmental regulation and
enforcement are crucial elements to this process.
In conclusion, we need to aim for a zero-waste world. This can only be achieved through integrated
solutions, the increasing of capacity, and most importantly a shift in mentality that defines our
engagement with the natural world. As the youth, we are prepared to start this movement, and to
lead by example, with the next cup of coffee. Let our vision be world embracing.
Thank you Mr Chair.