Launched only a bit more than a year ago, the Charter of Commitments was evolving alongside with the project itself picking up quite some interest from other cities and regions and with 8 new signatories, became a club of 26 cities and regions committed to a transition towards circular economy and sustainable resource management
Prior to the URBAN-WASTE project’s Final Conference, held on 7 May, the Charter of Commitments already counted 19 signatories from all across Europe. It was launched in Nice in January 2018 and soon after picked up and adopted by another European project – INTERREG MED BLUEISLANDS thus becoming a two-fold Charter bringing together two projects tackling waste management in touristic areas. This Charter was designed and created as an initiative which would eventually attract attention and raise visibility, as well as awareness on the necessity of adapting certain waste management practices t various tourism processes. It represents a manifesto aimed at local and regional authorities who want to express their intentions to adapt their tourism sector to the given environmental capacities of the area of interest and further develop and enrich their tourism offer with eco-innovative strategies and measures which will turn tourism more sustainable and environmentally-friendly. This charter reflects local and regional authorities’ intentions to reducing waste generation by tourists and tourism service providers and improving waste management practices.
Over the last year, the Charter saw several signing ceremonies, such as its own launch it Nice, a BLUEISLANDS conference in Brussels later on in March and the 3rd URBAN-WASTE General Assembly in Lisbon in November 2018. The URBAN-WASTE’s Final Conference came as a perfect opportunity to organise one last ceremony within this particular project’s framework before it ends in May 2019. Through URBAN-WASTE and BLUEISLANDS’ communication and dissemination activities the Charter managed to reach many cities outside these two projects’ frameworks and go beyond their boundaries. Even 8 new signatories came to Brussels to sign it during a dedicated signing ceremony.
Ms Francoise Bonnet, ACR+’s Secretary General had the honour to welcome the 8 new signatories, together with those who already signed it and were present in Brussels such as Mr Pedro Rodrigues Furtado of Ponta Delgada in the Azores, Mr Michael Lagos and Mr Louka Papayianni of the Municipality of Nicosia and Ms Susanne Lindeneg of the Municipality of Copenhagen. Prior to the ceremony, Ms Bonnet shared her opinions and views on the importance of cooperation of cities and regions in the transition towards circular economy, sharing their best practices and joining existing networks, such as ACR+. “Cities and regions in Europe are full of good practices, some of them considered even best practices while being replicable solutions and ideas. These practices, solutions and ideas must go beyond the limits and borders of where they were created.”, said Ms Bonnet and added “The URBAN-WASTE project wants to go beyond its own 11 pilot cities and regions and honour all those local and regional authorities who decided to go beyond conventional. Who can be considered as frontrunners in making tourism more sustainable”.
Shortly after, she and the previous signatories were joined on stage by Ms Tiziana Merlino of AMIU Genova, Italy, Mr Waclaw Skubida of the Municipality of Krakow, Poland, Ms Nanette Mapertuis of the Tourism Agency of the Collectivity of Corsica, France and Ms Mercedes Van Volcem of the city of Brugge, Belgium. Furthermore, the entire island of Sardinia was present at the ceremony as more than 15 Sardinian municipalities delegated their signatures to the representatives of the four Fisheries Local Action Groups representing the entire territory of Sardinia – Ms. Nicolette Piras, Ms Marta Cadinu, Mr Davide Cao and Mr Alessandro Murana. The signatories mentioned the role of tourism and its contribution to the local economy but at the same time highlighted the fact that tourism must be kept within the boundaries of sustainable and the local and regional authority must provide appropriate waste management solutions.
You can see all the Final Conference photos here.