ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability is a global network working with more than 2,500 local and regional governments committed to sustainable urban development.


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ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability is a global network working with more than 2,500 local and regional governments committed to sustainable urban development.

ICLEI Regional Secretariats and country offices

10 November 2023

UN Zero Waste Advisory Board holds first meeting in Istanbul


ICLEI Secretary General Gino van Begin is part of this group of eminent experts appointed by the UN Secretary-General to advocate the importance of recycling in the face of climate change.

Following its first online meeting last July, the UN Secretary General’s Advisory Board of Eminent Persons on Zero Waste gathered on 1 November for its first official in-person meeting in Istanbul, Türkiye.

Established by the UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, under the United Nations General Assembly resolution on Zero Waste (77/161) adopted on 22 December 2022, the Advisory Board has two missions: sharing best practices and success stories, and promoting zero waste initiatives at the local and national level. The board aims to raise awareness and disseminate relevant information regularly through various means, including reports, websites, and social media, especially during the global celebration of the International Day of Zero Waste, declared on 30 March of each year, which was celebrated for the first time in 2023.

In a letter addressed to ICLEI Secretary General Gino van Begin, the UN Secretary-General appointed: “As a board member, I trust that I can count on your knowledge, experience and expertise to promote zero-waste initiatives.”

“For a long time, waste has been an inconvenient (truth) output from our various manufacturing and consumption activities. We are now dealing with the negative impacts of waste, hitting on health, economic, and social. ICLEI continues to advocate for a responsible circular development approach to addressing the waste challenge that will take us toward a zero-waste future,” stated ICLEI Secretary General, Gino van Begin.

During the board’s meeting in Istanbul, advisors shared effective strategies to reduce waste, redesign material use and production, promote a circular economy and inform consumer choices.

The board is a multidisciplinary, regionally and gender-balanced group of 12 worldwide eminent advisors, moderated by the Executive Director of the UN Human Settlements Program (UN-Habitat), Maimunah Mohd Sharif and chaired by the First Lady of Türkiye, Emine Erdoğan.

The complete list of the UN Secretary-General’s Advisory Board of Eminent Persons on Zero Waste is:

  • Mrs. Emine Erdoğan, First Lady of Türkiye (Serving as Chairperson)
  • Mr. José Manuel Moller, Chief Executive Officer and Founder, Algramo (Serving as Deputy Chairperson)
  • Mr. Gino Van Begin, Secretary General ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability
  • Mrs. Fatima Maada Bio, First Lady of Sierra Leone
  • Mrs. Mellisa Santokhi-Seenacherry, First Lady of Suriname
  • Mr. Muhammad Yunus, Co-founder and Chairman, Yunus Environment Hub
  • Mr. Carlos Silva Filho, President, International Solid Waste Association (ISWA)
  • Ms. Laura Reyes, Directora Ejecutiva, CEMPRE (Compromiso Empresarial para el Reciclaje)
  • Ms. Lara van Druten, Chief Executive Officer, The Waste Transformers
  • Mr. Saleem Ali, Professor, Energy and the Environment at the University of Delaware, USA, and Honorary Professor, at Sustainable Resources Development, University of Queensland, Australia
  • Ms. Hakima El Haite, Founder, EauGlobe
  • Mr. Vijay Jagannathan, Secretary General CityNet Asia Pacific
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