South-South Knowledge Exchange Program on Sustainable Solid Waste Management between Lao PDR and Pakistan

June 10 – 15. Islamabad, Pakistan – A Lao delegation with 4 GGGI Lao PDR staff visited Islamabad and Mardan, Pakistan for South-South Knowledge Exchange (SSKE) Program between Lao PDR and Pakistan, aiming to enhance solid waste management in Lao PDR by learning from the best practices of Pakistan.

The delegation consisted of the government officials of Vientiane City Office for Management of Services (VCOMS), City Government of Vientiane Capital, authorities of districts and villages, and a private waste service provider.

Partnered with Dr. Akhtar Hameed Khan Memorial Trust (AHKMT), an NGO specialized in sanitation and solid waste management in Pakistan, GGGI developed an agenda that focused on the management and operation of the integrated resource recovery center (IRRC) given that the new IRRC established in Vientiane Capital requires technical knowledge of the operators and managers regarding the IRRC, and thus capacity building is necessary for the effective operation. Other key sessions of the SSKE program included waste collection, household-level biogas plant, relevant policies and regulations, and informal recycling sector in Pakistan.

On Day 1 and 2, the delegation could learn and gain detailed information on the solid waste management status quo in Pakistan and Islamabad, based on which current policies and regulations were developed.

During the visit, the delegation visited 2 IRRCs in Islamabad and Mardan that are being managed and technically supported by AHKMT. The well-arranged program provided on-the-job training to the delegation with clear step-by-step demonstrations of the IRRCs which covered the whole cycle of the operation from waste collection, transport, composting, and bagging.

On June 15, the last day of the visit, the delegation divided into 2 groups to discuss and draw implications regarding “how can Vientiane Capital replicate the practices of Islamabad?”. The brainstorming session was highly constructive with the participants’ active participation and useful comments from the experts of AHKMT.

“This is a highly productive program. It provided useful and practical knowledge and experience regarding solid waste management that are needed for Lao PDR and Vientiane Capital. We will disseminate what we learned from Pakistan to other colleagues and will also work to enhance the waste management of Vientiane Capital” said Mr. Bounchanh Keosithamma, Director General of VCOMS.

This program was organized and conducted by GGGI as a part of the KOICA-funded project “Wastewater and Solid Waste Treatment Capacity Building Project for City Environment Improvement in Vientiane Capital and Pakse City”. The previous SSKE program to India can be accessed here.