World Habitat Day in Lao PDR: Frontier technologies as an innovative tool to transform waste to wealth
07 October 2019
World Habitat Day, observed on the first Monday of October each year, supports UN-Habitat’s mission towards transformative change in cities and human settlements – to leave no one and no place behind. The Day is also intended to remind the world that we all have the power and the responsibility to shape the future of our cities, towns and communities.
This year’s theme is “Frontier technologies as an innovative tool to transform waste to wealth”. Building on last year’s theme “Municipal Solid Waste Management” which focused mainly on managing rubbish/garbage, UN-Habitat is this year promoting the contribution of innovative frontier technologies to sustainably manage a wider range of waste to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 11: inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable cities. This year’s theme includes all waste produced by human activity (solid, liquid, domestic, industrial and commercial) which has a huge impact on climate change, public health and the environment.
Technology has great potential to improve how people work and live, to significantly accelerate efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and address climate change. Frontier technologies, such as automation, robotics, electric vehicles, renewable energy technologies, biotechnologies and artificial intelligence can transform the social, economic and environmental spheres. They can offer better, cheaper, faster, scalable and easy to use solutions for every-day problems, including waste management.
In Lao PDR, the celebration of the World Habitat Day 2019 is officially commenced with the message from the Minister of Public Works and Transport, Dr. Bounchanh Sinthavong. Dr. Sinthavong called for more attention to waste reduction and management in urban master plan of Lao PDR, as well as the expansion and implementation of the Resolution of the 10th Congress of the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party concerning using of innovation in research and basic urban infrastructure planning, to achieve livable, sustainable and smart cities urbanization direction. Also, Dr. Sinthavong acknowledged both domestic and foreign contributions for urban development projects in Vientiane and other cities, provincial headquarters, solid waste management, small town water supply, and urban master plans in 148 districts countrywide. Moreover, Dr. Sinthavong expressed the future country goals: to study and improve urban master plans, and to make detailed urban development plans for Vientiane and other cities, as well as development in rural areas. Lastly, he expressed hope that international organizations, NGOs, and international financial institutions will increase their cooperation and assist Lao PDR, to improve the quality of life for all.
The celebration of World Habitat Day in Lao PDR will continue till 10th October, closed by a forum with Lao Youth in the National University of Laos about the development vision and plan of Vientiane.
Together, beginning with small steps of individuals, we can alter the way our cities function and transform Lao PDR cities into Waste-Wise Cities.