United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Republic of Korea

Thank you Mr. Chairman.
I would like to briefly touch upon sustainable waste management.
To tackle increasing types and amount of solid and hazardous waste generated by
ever-growing economy, a sustainable waste management is necessary to decouple
waste generation from economic growth.
"Wastes" are no longer "wastes" but "resources" because ?resource circulation? is the
essential element in fulfilling sustainable development. Thus, we need to achieve
resource circulation society. The concept of this society is broader than that of
recycling society. The resource circulation so ciety identifies the flow of materials,
minimizes side effects of using them and maximizes efficiency of materials.
I would like to bring up some points regarding sustainable waste management.
First, waste management policy, in its nature, should start from a long-term
perspective. Long-term strategy and system are needed for transition toward resource
circulation. This long- term strategy consists of goals and policies to promote national
resource circulation and will lay the guideline for resource circulation and provide the
foundation for upcycling of waste resources, converting them into materials or
products of better quality.
Second, we should improve infrastructure and technology to efficiently deal with new
waste stream including electronic and hazardous wastes. Such wastes need an online
waste disposal management system, which utilizes the state-of-the-art technology and
manages the information on wastes along the whole process from waste generation to
final treatment. The system successfully manages wastes in a safe and transparent
manner and gains accurate statistics.
Third, in the context of green growth and high oil prices, we need to devise strategies
to convert wastes to energy. In establishing wastes policies, national circumstances
should be considered. For example, a country with relatively small size territory might
focus on incineration over landfill. On the contrary, a policy highlighting landfill
rather than incineration is more useful for a country with big size territory. What is
essential in waste management policies is that taking economies of scale into
consideration, whichever policy is chosen. ?Wastes to energy ? is as important as new
renewable energy such as wind, solar and thermal power, etc.
Lastly, we need to build international partnership on sustainable waste management.
Countries with advanced waste policies should provide master plan or conduct
feasibility study for establishing environmental facility for developing countries to
disseminate good practice and know-how in waste management. Korea is participating
in forging global partnership by taking part in international discussions on Asian
Network, United Nations Center for Regional Development (UNCRD), etc. and will
join the global effort to share information and experience in waste management with
other countries.
Thank you.
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