Second introductory workshop on circular economy, recycling held in Nablus

Birzeit University has conducted the second introductory workshop for the project titled “Promoting Upcycling in the Circular Economy through Innovation and Education for Creative Industries in Mediterranean Cities–INNOMED” on Sunday, August 30, 2020.

Around 50 participants, including delegates of government institutions, stakeholders, and representatives of trade and industrial unions and SME’s attended the session.

The introductory workshops, held both in Hebron and Nablus, aimed to highlight the importance of recycling, support small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that work in cultural and creative initiatives (CCIs), and raise awareness of their impact-potential on promoting economic and social development.

Shadi Ghadban, the project’s manager at Birzeit University, pointed out that the partnership with INNOMED-UP reaches beyond borders and can make a real impact on efforts to shift local urban economies towards new paradigms of circular production and consumption. Such a development could renovate Palestinian cities and enhance their economies, he explained.

Omar Hashem, the chairman of the Nablus Chamber of Commerce and Industry, expressed his enthusiasm for engaging in a project that supports SMEs. He added that traditional products and industries constitute a large segment of the Palestinian industrial sector and elaborated that they are especially important because they promote and perpetuate Palestinian heritage and identity and play a vital role in the Palestinian economy.  

Hashem said he hopes that this project will contribute to the development of the Palestinian heritage industry.

Anan Al-Attireh, the deputy governor of Nablus Governorate, explained why Nablus and Hebron were chosen for the project’s implementation, highlighting the  two cities economic impact through manufacturing products that perpetuate Palestinian culture and civilization. The INNOMED project, Al-Attireh pointed out, is an excellent opportunity for SMEs from different countries to learn from each other and exchange ideas.

Samih Tubaileh, the mayor of Nablus Municipality, spoke about the importance of such international projects that focus on recycling and stressed their economic benefit. He emphasized the need to support SMEs and include the concept of recycling and optimal use of resources in the production process.

The main results of field research and questionnaires carried out in preparation of the workshop were presented at this session, revealing the following facts: 80 percent of the raw materials in the SMEs are new, rather than recycled materials, and most SME owners have not received any specialized training in the circular economy.

The workshop concluded with several recommendations. First, participants stressed the importance of developing the economic sector in Palestine. Second, they recommended that businesses adopt the tools and methods necessary for product marketing on the international level. Third, they requested that financial support be provided to reduce the migration of workers from traditional industries to other areas, especially among the younger generations.  Fourth, they highlighted the necessity to adopt improved methods for the maintaining of occupational health and safety.  Fifth, they invited SMEs to join the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, as it could serve as an incubator.