On November 07th, 2:00 pm, at JW Marriott hotel in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, WPO and UNIDO (United Nations Industrial Development Organization) signed a Memorandum of Understanding for strategic cooperation in the field of packaging capacity building. The purpose, according to the MOU, is “to achieve the mutually declared objectives towards the operationalization of UNIDO’s mandate for inclusive sustainable industrial development”. 

The MOU was signed by WPO´s President, Thomas Schneider and UNIDO´s representative in Brazil, Alessandro Amadio, during the opening ceremony of International Seminar. The Seminar and other activities are part of WPO week in Brazil (November 07th to 10th) that will also include WPO Board Meeting and WorldStar judging, the most recognized packaging award in the globe. All activities are being organized by WPO´s local member ABRE (Brazilian Packaging Association – www.abre.org.br).

Basically, the cooperation program between WPO and UNIDO, includes three areas:

• development and implementation of specialized training and capacity building programs on packaging;

• setting-up national packaging centers in developing countries to provide a wide variety of services including design of packaging, labeling, technical label review and training courses on packaging; 

• promotion and organization of student & industry packaging competitions. 

This partnership will build on the flagship UNIDO initiative in Lebanon which resulted in the establishment of the Lebanese Packaging Center (Libanpack http://www.libanpack.org/) as a private-sector led center dedicated to support the Lebanese industries in the area of packaging, in addition, UNIDO and WPO intends to scale up the successful Arab Starpack Contest (http://www.arabstarpack.org/)  which was successfully launched in May 2017. 

Besides the partnership with UNIDO, WPO is part of other international programs, like the Save Food, an initiative from FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization), a branch of UN (United Nations) and Messe Düsseldorf. Institutionally WPO – through its members (packaging associations and institutes) - also aims to educate packaging professionals and society about the important and invaluable aspects of packaging. “We are advocates for packaging: good packaging, cost-effective packaging, packaging that contributes to creating a more sustainable society. The world cannot do without packaging, so we must educate people everywhere to respect the purpose of packaging and teach them how to incorporate this tool into the process of building an ever more sustainable society,” states President Thomas Schneider. 

About 20 WPO members, representing 16 countries, are expected to visit Rio de Janeiro and participate in all events. They will vote on 322 packaging projects – from 38 countries - registered in the WorldStar Award 2018. Rio is officially the last meeting of Thomas Schneider as WPO President after two terms. The Australian Pierre Pienaar, was elected the new WPO President in May during Interpack 2017; he has confirmed his participation in the Brazil meeting where after he will officially commence his new role as WPO President. 

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