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September 30, 2011 How Can Megacities Manage Their Waste?

In all probability, there will already be 61 cities that will have more than ten million inhabitants by 2015. That is more than three times the number of inhabitants in Berlin! Most of the new megacities are in developing countries, where their waste causes huge problems, and the poorer countries do not have the money to implement the waste management solutions used in cities in industrialized countries. These problems will be the topic of the 2011 Global Economic Symposium (GES) panel session entitled Reducing the Water and Waste Footprints of Megacities.

How can the waste footprint of cities be reduced? How can waste water be safely and efficiently recycled, for example, for agricultural uses? How can the ecological and health risks posed by waste be kept to a minimum? Is it possible to reclaim scarce resources, such as phosphor, from waste?

Threshold countries and developing countries often have poor infrastructure services. As a result, informal economies have developed to provide infrastructure services. These informal economies need to be replaced by formal economies without putting the people who work in the informal economies out of a job. Could the providers of informal services be integrated into a public provision system? Could public-private partnerships be used to effectively deal with the waste problems of the future? What role could, and should, international organizations play in dealing with the waste problem in megacities in threshold countries and developing countries? These and other questions will be discussed at the Global Economic Symposium in Kiel.

Kiel will turn into a think tank on 4–6 October, when more than 400 high-ranking ex­perts from business, government, academia, and civil societies will meet for the fourth Global Economic Symposium (GES), which is being jointly hosted by the Kiel institute for the World Economy and the Bertelsmann Stiftung, in cooperation with the German National Library of Economics (ZBW) – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics. Among those expected to participate are Hans-Paul Bürkner, President and CEO of the Boston Consulting Group, René Obermann, CEO of Deutsche Telekom, Joaquín Almunia, Commissioner for Competition, European Commission, Yves Leterme, Prime Minister of Belgium, Anders Borg, Finance Minister, Sweden, Mehmet Şimşek, Minister of Finance, Turkey, and Erik Stark Maskin and Oliver E. Williamson, both Nobel laureates in economics.

Further information about speakers and themes at the GES can be found at

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