ISO Technical Committee (ISO/TC 323) kicks off in Kigali

On 26th September 2022, Mr Richard Niwenshuti, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Trade and Industry officiated at the opening of the week- long International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Technical Committee meeting (ISO/TC 323) meeting in Kigali. The meeting brings together participants from 92 countries from across the globe including 85 countries attending physically and 7 countries attending virtually.

Mr Richard noted that it was a great pleasure and an honour for Rwanda to host this important meeting of ISO Technical Committee on Circular Economy (ISO TC 323). On behalf of the Government of the Republic of Rwanda he welcomed organizers and all participants to Kigali and to the fourth meeting of ISO TC 323. He expressed gratitude to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO); the management of the ISO TC 323, Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) and Rwanda Standards Board (RSB) for the efforts put in the preparation and organization of that important meeting.

Noting the data by a global snapshot of solid waste management to 2050 by World Bank, 2018 that established an estimated 2.01 billion tons of municipal solid waste generated in 2016 in the world, he remarked that the same snapshot holds that that number is expected to grow to 3.40 billion tons by 2050 under a business-as-usual scenario. He went further to remind that globally, about 37% of waste is disposed of in some type of landfill, 33% is openly dumped, only 19% undergoes materials recovery through recycling and composting, and 11% is treated through modern incineration; and that shows how human activities may have strong impacts on ecosystems, climate and biodiversity and at the same time, humans may also be negatively impacted by such environmental changes.

Against the above background, he hailed the work by the Technical Committee as in response to the above global challenges of the 21st century, the world recognizes that the circular economy has emerged as a viable alternative to the unsustainable linear economy. He emphasized that in a circular economy, resources are not consumed but recovered in a system that is continuous and long-lasting, with the goal of keeping them functioning at their highest potential.

Ms. Catherine CHEVAUCHÉ, Chairperson of the ISO/TC 323 appreciated the efforts by the Government of Rwanda to host the meeting and thus contribute in the process to set up standards that will help counter the side effects of the linear economy through promoting efficiency, technology and knowledge transfer and ensuring that global inhabitants equally enjoy the benefits of highly minimized risks to humans and the environment.

She added that the meeting will provide a platform for discussion on six ongoing projects where experts from all over the world will consider and discuss all the comments that were provided on the working draft documents towards publication of the standards to boost circular economy practices. Also, during this meeting, a two days training on good standardization practices was conducted from 25th-26th September for developing countries experts. Further on the meeting agenda is a decision makers’ workshop on circular economy that was co-organized with the Institut de la Francophonie pour le Dévelopment Durable (IFDD).

Mr Raymond Murenzi, Director General of Rwanda Standards Board, appreciated the contribution of ISO and standardizers all over the world who continue to play their role and develop standards that bring science-based solutions to socio-economic matters that are key to sustainable development. He reiterated RSB commitment to continue to actively participate in the setting of international standards and collaborate with other regional and international standards setters.

International Organization for standardization (ISO) acts as a bridging organization in which a consensus can be reached on standards and conformity assessment solutions that meet both the requirements of business and the broader needs of society. These activities are carried out by ISO technical committees. These committees are made by National Standards Bodies (NSBs) of countries, each per country. ISO/TC 323 Technical Committee (TC) on Circular Economy (CE) is one of ISO TCs and was created in September 2018 to develop frameworks, guidance, supporting tools and requirements for the implementation of activities of all involved organizations, to maximize the contribution to Sustainable Development. ISO/TC 323 meeting will be held from 25th-30th September, 2022 at Ubumwe Grande Hotel, in Kigali.

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