27 Mar 2024

Venue: Palais des Nations, Room VIII & Online

Organization: Türkiye, Geneva Environment Network

International Day of Zero Waste was celebrated for the first time on 30 March 2023, and observed by millions worldwide. For the second edition, all stakeholders are invited to raise awareness of national, subnational, regional, and local zero-waste initiatives and their contribution to achieving sustainable development. International Geneva plays a crucial role in advancing this agenda forward.

About this Event

Waste pollution threatens human health, costs the global economy hundreds of billions of dollars a year, and aggravates the triple planetary crisis of climate change, nature and biodiversity loss, and pollution.  Boosting waste management at all levels remains an urgent priority. To solve the waste pollution crisis, humanity must fully embrace a zero-waste approach. This entails responsible production and consumption patterns through promoting a lifecycle approach.

Jointly published by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the International Solid Waste Association (ISWA), the Global Waste Management Outlook 2024 report provides an update on global waste generation and the cost of waste and its management. Municipal solid waste generation is predicted to grow from 2.3 billion tonnes in 2023 to 3.8 billion tonnes by 2050. Only 62 percent of this waste is managed in controlled facilities. Some 2.7 billion people lack access to solid waste collection.

In 2020, the global direct cost of waste management was estimated to be at USD 252 billion. When factoring in the hidden costs of pollution, poor health and climate change from poor waste disposal practices, the cost rises to USD 361 billion. Without urgent action on waste management, by 2050 this global annual cost could almost double to a staggering USD 640.3 billion. However, the report’s modelling shows that getting waste under control by taking waste prevention and management measures could limit net annual costs by 2050 to USD 270.2 billion.

On the occasion of the second observation of the International Day of Zero Waste, this event aligns with the objectives of raising awareness of national, subnational, regional and local zero-waste initiatives and their contributions to advance the beat waste pollution agenda. It highlighted the role of Geneva as a major global hub for the governance of hazardous substances and home to several international organizations and multilateral environmental agreements aiming at reaching the zero-waste goal, and celebrated the steps taken by actors in international Geneva and beyond to move forward the zero-waste agenda.

About the International Day of Zero Waste

On 14 December 2022, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution at its seventy-seventh session to proclaim 30 March as International Day of Zero Waste, to be observed annually. Türkiye, with 105 other countries, put forward the resolution. It follows other resolutions focused on waste, including “End plastic pollution: towards an internationally legally binding instrument”, adopted at the United Nations Environment Assembly on 2 March 2022.

The United Nations Environment Programme and the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) jointly facilitate the observance of International Day of Zero Waste. Member States and stakeholders are invited to engage in activities aimed at raising awareness of national, subnational, regional and local zero-waste initiatives and their contribution to achieving sustainable development.

Promoting zero-waste initiatives through this international day can help advance all the goals and targets in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including Sustainable Development Goal 11 and Sustainable Development Goal 12. These goals address all forms of waste, including food loss and waste, natural resource extraction and electronic waste.



First Lady of the Republic of Türkiye | Chairperson of the Advisory Board of Eminent Persons on Zero Waste (video message)

H.E. Amb. Güven BEGEÇ

Permanent Representative of Türkiye to the United Nations Office at Geneva and other international organizations in Switzerland


Counsellor, Permanent Mission of the Republic of Azerbaijan to the United Nations Office and other international organizations in Geneva | UN Climate Change COP29 Host


Director for Europe, UN Environment Programme


President, International Solid Waste Association (ISWA) | Member, UN Secretary General's Advisory Board on Zero Waste


UN Special Rapporteur on toxics and human rights


Deputy Executive Secretary, Basel, Rotterdam, and Stockholm Conventions

Moustapha Kamal GUEYE

Director, Priority Action Programme on Just Transitions, International Labour Organization


Settings Lead, Water, Sanitation, Hygiene and Health Unit, World Health Organization


Environmental Affairs Officer, Environmental Performance Review Programme, UN Economic Commission for Europe


Co-Director, Global Cities Hub

Uğur İbrahim ALTAY

President of UCLG and mayor of Konya metropolitan municipality (video message)


Chief, Geneva Office at UN-Habitat | Moderator



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