International Solid Waste Association: Experts in waste management

22nd Oct, 2015

The International Solid Waste Association, ISWA, organises many international events, working groups, board meetings, conferences and congresses. The ISWA World Congress 2015 was held in Antwerp from 7 to 9 September and the event clearly made its mark. Gerfried Habenicht, Communication Manager, told me "It was a complete success!". But who and what is ISWA?
Interview Marcel A.M. Vissers

ISWA is the world’s leading network promoting professional and sustainable waste management. More precisely, the International Solid Waste Association is a global, independent and non-profit making association, working in the public interest and is the only worldwide association promoting sustainable, comprehensive and professional waste management.

HQ: How were the reactions after the congress in Antwerp?
Gerfried Habenicht: We received a lot of extremely positive feedback from the participants. So, there's only one possible answer to that question: this event was a success in every aspect.

HQ: Who decides where the ISWA World Congresses are held?
Gerfried Habenicht: Our national member organisations can submit a bid. In the end the ISWA board decides who has made the best proposal. A world congress is organised every year with an average of 1,250 delegates attending. The congress was organised in Antwerp this year, also because Flanders is a leader in the field of waste management.

History of ISWA International Congresses
(average of 1,250 delegates)

2014: Sao Paulo Brasil
2015: Antwerp, Belgium
2016: Serbia
2017: Baltimore, USA
2018: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
2019: Bilbao, Spain
2020: Bid open in January 2016

HQ: You mentioned anywhere in the world.
Gerfried Habenicht: Yes, the congress can be held in any country where we have a national member. This are currently 41 countries. We do consider a fair distribution around the world. The next congress will be held in Novi Sad, Serbia, in September 2016. Then we will be in Baltimore, USA, and the year after in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. In 2019 we will be holding the world congress in Bilbao, Spain. We haven't decided yet for 2020.

HQ: What kind of venues do you prefer?
Gerfried Habenicht: It depends on the choice of the national member who in principle is responsible for the organisation on the spot. In general, a congress centre is chosen in a location with a wide range of hotels and an airport nearby.

HQ: Does ISWA use a PCO?
Gerfried Habenicht: Again, it's the same principle and this depends on the national member organisation. In Antwerp, we very successfully worked together with alderman Philip Heylen and his staff, who only for selected tasks used the services of a PCO. The same goes for our 2014 World Congress in Sao Paulo, Brazil, where our national member partners partly organised things themselves and partly cooperated with a PCO.

ISWA Facts and Figures
• ISWA was founded in 1970.
• the ISWA General Secretariat is situated in Vienna, Austria.
• Managing Director: Herman Koller
• Event and Project Manager: Kim Winternitz
• ISWA has members in more than 100 countries, with National Member Organisations in 41 of these countries.
• ISWA has some 1,400 members worldwide and additionally some 100,000 members associated with their National Member Organisations.

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