ABOUT THIS EVENT
Environmental quality, social justice, and economic opportunity are critical to the well-being of the planet. The United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals 2015 achieved some success in reducing hunger and sending more girls to school, among other things. However, environmental sustainability in developing countries has worsened. The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals for 2030 were developed to address the environmental sustainability gap. Economic development, preservation of the environment, and social justice all go hand in hand.
While developed countries have been able to control contagious diseases with sewerage and water treatment, the least developed countries (LDCs) are still struggling with these issues. As a result, three times as many (25.6 million) people in LDCs die each year from mostly preventable diseases. There is a global consensus that climate change, habitat alteration, deforestation, soil degradation, loss of biodiversity, overpopulation, and pollution are some of the biggest environmental challenges of our time. These problems are even greater in low-income countries where resources are under pressure and poverty and hunger are already taking a huge toll in human lives. The Himalayas play a critical role as they are the tallest mountain range in the world and serve as the primary source of fresh water for more than a billion people. The Himalayas are also experiencing dramatic impacts of global climate change.
There is an urgent need for the scientific community to identify the causes of these problems and develop effective solutions. One way to promote this effort is by sharing knowledge through participation in international conferences. Therefore, we are planning the first Global Conference on Environment and Sustainability in 2020 with a slogan of “environmental challenges in the developing world”.
The conference will focus on three primary themes.
I. Air Pollution and Climate Change
Clean air is an important resource for good health and well-being. However, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) nine out of ten people on earth are breathing polluted air. Polluted air kills seven million people prematurely every year from diseases including cancer, stroke, heart, and lung illness. Residents in low- and middle-income countries suffer the most from air pollution, accounting for approximately 90% of all pollution related deaths. Recently, the WHO listed air pollution as one of the top ten health challenges and the greatest environmental risk to human health. Even though one of the primary causes of air pollution is fossil fuel burning, the role of localized sources differs from place to place. Air pollution can travel great distances and can have detrimental global effects. Therefore, collaborative efforts are required to address the problem. Furthermore, climate change has already shown its impact on water resources, forests and biodiversity, agriculture, tourism, and people’s health and livelihood. These effects have been predicted to be more severe in coming decades with lasting, possibly irreversible impacts on the global ecosystem.
II. Solid Waste Management
Solid waste management is an important public health issue for global communities. Due to rising urbanization and economic activity, lower- and middle-income countries will surpass high-income countries in total waste generation by 2025 at nearly 1 billion tons per day. Much of the developed world is diverting solid waste away from landfills. For example, although 54% of municipal solid waste is landfilled in the United States, Japan landfills only 1.24% and Sweden less than 1%. However, in developing countries like Nepal, the importance of landfilling is high even though waste collection efficiencies are low. The UN Sustainable Development Goal #11 states that solid waste should be properly collected and handled in an effort to promote sustainable cities and communities. While cities like San Francisco or Seattle are moving towards zero waste, a large portion of municipal solid waste goes uncollected in Karachi and Kathmandu. Given these disparities, it is important to create a global platform to discuss solid waste issues.
III. Sustainable Development and Environmental Policies
Sustainable development requires the integration of environmental, social, and economic issues. Everyone is concerned with the integrity and stability of natural ecosystems, unemployment, resource scarcity, pollution, climate change, food insecurity, and inequity. However, if we continue current levels of resource consumption there may not be enough for future generations. Consequently, sustainable development needs to be married to social justice, good corporate citizenship, indigenous and local knowledge, and healthy economies. In this context, sustainable environmental policies play an important role and need strengthening across all levels of governance, to ensure that environmental policies are equitably distributed, especially in developing countries.
To comprehend some of these deeply rooted and large-scale issues and to initiate a policy debate for what works and what does not, the conference requests papers, oral and poster presentations, with illustrations from students, researchers, experts, practitioners, and policymakers from around the world. We are interested to hear from case studies, best management practices, innovations, technological interventions, and strategies. We also invite experimental and/or theoretical research presentations that identify the fundamental environmental variables such as change of surface and air temperature, rainfall averages, evolution of chemical contaminants in the atmosphere and water resources. Reports on the development of specific chemical, biological, and physical techniques aimed for future measurements are also welcome. Likewise, solid waste technologies and applied research relevant to LDCs such as waste prevention, urban organic waste and food waste composting, low cost recycling, smart low-technologies for sustainable waste management, and the role of the informal sector in waste management are also of interest. The goal of the conference is to gain further understanding regarding effective sustainable development practices and policies surrounding these topics in developing countries.