How can the transformation toward a circular economy be pushed ahead? That was the dominant question on the three days of the fair at the Istanbul Expo Centre (IFM), while the discussions not only focused on Turkey, but on the entire MENA region and Central Asia. Sebastian Frisch, CEO of BlackForest Solutions and Chairman of the MENA Region Working Group at RETech German Partnership: “The circular economy not only improves living standards but also contributes to the diversification of economic output. In the medium and long term, the MENA region plans to attain European levels. With its technological solutions, IFAT Eurasia provides important impulses for this region.”
What a functioning waste cycle can look like for the countries of Eurasia in order to limit the littering of rivers and seas in the region was discussed by a panel of top-class scientists, politicians, industry experts and NGOs at the opening of the specialist supporting program. During the debate, Kerem Noyan, Head of Marine & Coastal Management at the Turkish Ministry of Environment and Urban Planning said: “The tourism sector in particular ‘as beneficiary of a clean marine environment’ has to be made more responsible in environmental issues. Therefore, tourism providers and hotel operators are among the main stakeholders of the Marine Litter Action Plans which will be prepared for every coastal province in order to achieve marine litter free seas. These plans include the implementation of the zero-waste approach in hotels, the delivery of ship wastes to port reception facilities and in this context the use of the Blue Card Ship Waste Tracking System which was developed for yachts and small boats, public awareness campaigns, information notes for tourists, clean-up and prevention measures.”
In the water segments of IFAT Eurasia, hygienization was one of the key topics. Roland Knitschky of the German Association for Water, Wastewater and Waste (DWA): “Technologies for hygienic cleaning were in high demand in the drinking and industrial water sectors. Visitor groups from Central Asia focused on wastewater issues, including processes for treating problem waters from special industries.”
10,467 visitors from 84 countries came to the Turkish business metropolis of Istanbul on the three days of the fair. Osman Bayazit Genç, Managing Director of organizer Messe München Eurasia was pleased: “IFAT Eurasia attracted exactly the right audience of professionals: decision-makers and buyers from Asia and Europe. Thus, it once again proved to be the most important link between the environmental markets of both continents.” Despite the current circumstances in the region, the international participation continued to increase. Christian Rocke, Exhibition Group Director of the worldwide IFAT trade fairs: “The international share of exhibitors was just under 40 percent, and the number of international visitors increased by 60 percent. In addition, more international industry associations were involved than in the past. This is a clear sign of confidence in the local market.”
Besides Turkey, the countries with the most exhibitors were (in that order): Germany, China, Switzerland, Austria and Italy. For the first time, the Turkish edition of the world's leading trade fair IFAT in Munich also attracted companies from Canada, Brazil, Ukraine and Ghana. New international partners included the Federal Association of the German Waste, Water and Raw Materials Management Industry (BDE), the Bureau of International Recycling (BIR) and the German RETech Partnership.
And also visitor-wise there was massive international interest, as exhibitor Berkay Koç, Environmental Engineer at Emi Çevre confirmed: “We were very satisfied with our trade fair presence. We encountered many foreign visitors, especially from Romania, Finland, Poland, Greece, Morocco and many other countries. We will participate in 2021 again.” A separate presentation and networking area was set up in the three exhibition halls for the numerous business delegations from Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Kazakhstan, Morocco, the Maldives, Cyprus, Russia, Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates.
Another highlight of the supporting program was the International Environmental Conference, in short: IREMCON. Under the banner of “Combating Global Climate Change and Strengthening International Cooperation in Waste Management”, the leading environmental conference of Turkey and the entire Balkan region took place for the first time as part of IFAT Eurasia. Another novelty was the Buyers Mission program. The initiative of the Turkish Ministry of Economy brought together solution providers and solution seekers in a targeted manner.
IFAT Eurasia was the first of a total of six international IFAT fairs to be held in 2019: IE expo China in Shanghai (April 15 to 17), the premiere edition of IE expo Chengdu in Chengdu (June 27 to 29), IFAT Africa in Johannesburg (July 9 to 11), IE expo Guangzhou in Guangzhou (September 18 to 20) and IFAT India in Mumbai (October 16 to 18). Together with the world's leading trade fair for the sector IFAT in Munich—the parent fair—they form the world's largest and leading network for environmental technologies.
The next edition of IFAT Eurasia will take place in Istanbul in spring 2021.
More information on the event can be found at www.ifat-eurasia.com.