WHO sustainable-development initiative wins United Nations award


During his visit to Serbia in July 2012, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon visited the WHO-supported SWIFT project for sustainable waste handling

The SWIFT(the Sustainable Waste management Initiative For a healthier Tomorrow) initiative, implemented by WHO in Serbia, won first prize in the “greening” category at the UN21 Awards, presented by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon on 18 September 2012.

Open to all informal waste collectors in Belgrade, SWIFT enables them to join a cooperative that has office and sanitary facilities, and equipment including refuse lorries, presses, sorting facilities and occupational health and safety equipment. This enables members of the cooperative to provide waste management services and cooperate with other organizations that collect and recycle waste.

Through the initiative, the Roma (who are the main waste collectors) are recognized as waste-management experts who carry out important tasks to support municipalities in managing solid waste. Upgrading their expertise in managing waste in a healthy way enables Roma to increase their income, ensure a healthier work environment and improve their social circumstances.

SWIFT is led by WHO with support from national and international partners.

About the UN21 Awards

The UN 21 Awards recognize staff initiatives that promote innovation, efficiency and excellence in the way the United Nations delivers its programmes and services. This year, 77 projects were submitted for consideration. Nominations were accepted in seven different categories.