On 30 March the United Nations General Assembly under the presidency of Turkmenistan convened a High-level meeting on the role of zero waste as a transformative solution in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
The meeting was attended by the UN Secretary-General, Mr. António Guterres, the First Lady of the Republic of Türkiye, Ms. Emine Erdogan, the Executive Director of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), Ms. Maimunah Mohd Sharif, high-level delegations of the Member States, and the heads of relevant specialized agencies of the UN system.
The United Nations Secretary-General in his statement called to use the momentum of the International Day of Zero Waste, proclaimed at the initiative of the Republic of Türkiye and celebrated for the first time, as a starting point for more active efforts to promote efficient consumption and production patterns, minimization of waste levels and rational management of resources. It was emphasized that every year, more than 2 billion tonnes of municipal solid waste is created, but 33 per cent of it is not properly managed in controlled facilities, and every minute, the equivalent of one garbage truck full of plastic is dumped into the ocean.
In this regard, it was announced that an Advisory Board of Eminent Persons on Zero Waste had been established under the auspices of the United Nations, which would continuously produce analytics and develop recommendations in this area for national governments, international organizations and other stakeholders.
The Executive Director of UN-Habitat, in turn, drew attention to the challenges of waste management and the transition to closed consumption systems faced by growing cities around the world. It was emphasized that platforms such as the Network of Zero Waste Cities and the Adoption of the Global Strategy for Sustainable Consumption and Production have been adopted to unite efforts in this direction.
The Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan in his speech during the meeting, expressing gratitude to the Republic of Türkiye for the initiative in organizing the event and launching a global campaign to achieve the zero waste goals, noted the importance of consolidating the efforts of the world community to develop circular economy models that minimize the impact on the environment and thus contribute to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Attention was drawn to the measures taken by Turkmenistan at the national level to establish waste management systems in urban areas, introduce modern technologies for the disposal of household and industrial waste in order to improve the living conditions of the population of Turkmenistan and reduce the gap between the regions due to the advanced development of rural communities.
As a vivid example of the transformations carried out in this area in the country, the new city of Arkadag was cited, the model of which is based on the adaptation of circular technologies, advanced methods of modern environmentally friendly architecture and building materials, as well as on the principle of reducing urban waste to zero.
In this context, it was emphasized that Turkmenistan considers the promotion of the concept of zero-waste cities, in close cooperation with the UN Human Settlements Programme, a key element for achieving practical results in this sphere and a powerful tool for achieving the goals of sustainable urbanization.
On the afternoon of 30 March, the delegation of Turkmenistan also took part in a side event to observe the International Day of Zero Waste, organized jointly with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), UN-Habitat with the support of the Government of the Republic of Türkiye.
At this event, a presentation of the new city of Arkadag was held. In particular, emphasis was placed on demonstrating modern waste-free technologies used in the city, smart transport and communication systems and innovative environmental solutions. ///nCa, 30 March 2023 [in cooperation with Permanent Mission of Turkmenistan to the UN, New York]