LIFE SMART Waste project final conference

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LIFE SMART Waste is joining with INTERPOL's Pollution Crime Working Group (PCWG) to host a conference entitled, ‘Smarter waste regulation and pollution crime enforcement’ in Brussels, Belgium from 12-14 November 2019.

The joint conference will bring together environmental regulators, law enforcement agencies, waste policy experts, legislators, waste management industry representatives and other key stakeholders.

Over 200 delegates - with representatives from six continents, 52 countries and a range of international organisations - have registered, ensuring that the conference will provide opportunities for knowledge exchange, networking and collaboration on a truly global basis.

Delegates will hear from a range of prominent keynote speakers, consider the results and recommendations of the LIFE SMART Waste project and participate in discussions and thematic workshops. Conference topics will include key current trends in waste crime, innovations to tackle waste crime, strategic and operational approaches and policy developments (including the latest thinking from the European Commission).

To deliver this unique event, the LIFE SMART Waste project's final conference will integrate with the first two days (12-13 November) of the 24th Meeting of the INTERPOL PCWG, the annual global gathering of the PCWG network, which runs until 14 November 2019. The INTERPOL PCWG annual meetings aim at discussing new and growing concerns relating to pollution crime and to develop action plans going forward. They also allow INTERPOL, and all participants, to share current projects and enforcement activities, and to advance regional and international cooperation in the field of pollution crime enforcement.

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Conference information


The LIFE SMART Waste project is hosting the conference in collaboration with INTERPOL's Pollution Crime Working Group.

LIFE SMART Waste project

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LIFE SMART Waste is a multi-agency project co-funded by the EU LIFE programme. It aims to develop and demonstrate innovative ways of understanding, tackling and reducing waste-related crime. The project is led by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency working in partnership with three co-beneficiaries: Natural Resources Wales; ACR+; and Brussels Environment.

The project was initiated during 2014 in acknowledgement that waste crime is a serious and persistent issue that threatens our ambitions of a circular economy in Europe. Waste criminals are elusive and persistently profit at the expense of our environment, economies and communities, and LIFE SMART Waste project beneficiaries recognised that there are significant gaps in our collective understanding of the causes, dynamics and triggers for criminal activity in challenging waste streams. The project’s premise is that closing these gaps offers opportunities to identify and develop practical indicators, deterrents and remedies for such criminal behaviour.

The LIFE SMART Waste project's final conference will bring together a broad spectrum of stakeholders to hear the key results and to consider the recommendations. In addition to providing stakeholders with opportunities for sharing experiences and expertise in discussions, there will be an opportunity for the European Commission and representatives from other European institutions to present the latest thinking on European policy related to waste implementation and consider how the project' s outcomes can feed into this debate.

INTERPOL Pollution Crime Working Group

INTERPOL logoThe Pollution Crime Working Group (PCWG), together with the Wildlife Crime Working Group (WCWG); the Fisheries (FCWG) and the more recently established Forestry Crime Working Group, support INTERPOL's Environmental Compliance and Enforcement Committee Advisory Board and are responsible for the operational and tactical responses within INTERPOL in relation to environmental crime.  These working groups focus specifically on how to tackle crime in these areas.

The PCWG global network meets annually to discuss new and growing global concerns relating to pollution crime, share best practice in dealing with existing and emerging pollution threats, plan joint operations and also to develop strategies going forward.

The objective of this year’s meeting is to, amongst others, consider key trends and emerging threats linked to pollution crime,  discuss challenges and opportunities in achieving effective enforcement against pollution crime, especially through international and multi-agency cooperation, and to identify opportunities and risks associated with information and intelligence sharing, data management and analysis.

In 2018 and 2019, INTERPOL ENS and the PCWG have been working hand-in-hand to address the Organized Crime-Pollution Crime nexus; the emerging waste crime trends resulting from China policy restrictions on waste import; and marine pollution crime via global INTERPOL-coordinated Operations (October 2018, October 2019), among others. Those issues will be part of the main topics for discussion during the 24th Meeting of the PCWG.


The objectives of the joint conference are to:

  1. Create opportunities for global knowledge exchange on waste-related crime
  2. Demonstrate and discuss LIFE SMART Waste project findings
  3. Discuss INTERPOL ENS and PCWG’s work addressing:
    • The Organized Crime-Pollution Crime nexus;
    • Emerging waste crime trends resulting from China policy restrictions on waste import;
    • Marine pollution crime via global INTERPOL-coordinated Operations


Participants at the joint conference will include representatives from a wide range of agencies and organisations, including:

  • Environmental regulators;INTERPOL PCWG_700x467
  • Enforcement agencies (for example, operational managers from police, customs, coast guard, criminal investigation units, etc.);
  • Policymakers;
  • Legislators (prosecution and judicial authorities);
  • Forensic experts on pollution crime;
  • Key experts from relevant regional and international organisations;
  • Industry representatives.



We are pleased to confirm that the registration deadline has been extended to 25 October 2019.

To date, over 150 delegates - with representatives from six continents, 46 countries and international organisations - have registered, ensuring that the conference will provide opportunities for knowledge exchange, networking and collaboration on a truly global basis.

Register now

To register for the conference, please follow the link below and complete the enrolment form in full before the deadline.

Link: Conference registration form.

Programme / Schedule

Programme overview

LSW conference programme

Please note that during Days 1-3 inclusive, registration will commence at 09.00.

Detailed conference schedule

The conference schedule details are currently being finalised prior to publication.

To ensure that you receive the latest conference schedule and project updates, please subscribe to the LIFE SMART Waste project e-newsletter.


For information, please also consider the 'suggested activities in Brussels' section below.


Location / Getting there / Accommodation

The Conference will take place in a central location within the City of Brussels, Belgium.

Details of the venue's address, how to get there and accommodation suggestions will be made available to conference registrants.


Please note that English will be the working language of the Conference.

No interpretation will be provided.


Entry to the conference is free of charge.

LIFE SMART Waste will provide registered Conference delegates with lunch and coffee breaks during Day 1 and Day 2 of the conference (12-13 November 2019).

All other travel and accommodation expenses are the responsibility of Conference delegates.


Conference schedule

For enquiries relating to the conference schedule:

Venue and related logistics

For enquiries relating to the conference venue and related logistics:

INTERPOL PCWG network only

For enquiries related to INTERPOL funding support (ODA countries only):


Suggested activities in Brussels

If you have the opportunity to extend your stay in Brussels beyond the conference, please note that a Zero Waste Fair will take place at the BEL Conference Center, Brussels on the 14 and 16 November 2019.

The Zero Waste Fair  is a showcase of Brussels know-how in Zero Waste and the circular economy in Brussels, featuring innovations from all types of private and non-profit organisations:

  • Day 1 (14 November) is a half day intended for professionals to discover the sustainable and circular products on offer;
  • Day 2 (16 November) is open to the public and will feature engaging showcases and hands-on workshops to explore and debate about Zero Waste Topics.

More information on the event web site: