Every three years leading experts meet for the World Dredging Congress and Exhibition, known as WODCON. This is the single most important opportunity for the worldwide dredging community to explore and share the latest developments in the industry. In 2013 the gathering took place in Brussels, Belgium.
The Congress was organised by CEDA on behalf of the World Organisation of Dredging Associations (WODA) with the support of the Government of Flanders.
With the theme ‘The Art of Dredging’, WODCON XX brought together around 450 researchers and practitioners from industry, academia and government, who came from all parts of the world to discuss the latest developments in dredging and the construction and maintenance of water-based infrastructure.
During the closing ceremony, the chairman of the WODA and CEDA Environment Commissions, Polite Laboyrie (Witteveen+Bos, the Netherlands), presented the WODA Principles of Sustainable Dredging, an agreed statement on 21st-century dredging issued by the associations that form WODA.
The three WODA constituents – WEDA (Americas), CEDA (Europe, Africa and the Middle East) and EADA (Asia and Australia) – operate around the world and sometimes find significant differences in the way dredging projects are planned and implemented. This statement captures the common values and principles to which each association subscribes.
The Principles emphasise the need to work in harmony with natural processes and the site-specific characteristics of ecosystems. Projects should take into account social, environmental and economic objectives and should engage a broad range of stakeholders from the start. The Principles also state that beneficial use of dredged materials should be a priority.
By following this blueprint, WODA believes that dredging will contribute to sound solutions that improve our well-being and protect our aquatic environment for future generations.
“With these Principles of Sustainable Dredging our organisations show what their driving force is achieving goals for the environment and for prosperity by promoting and organising active collaboration, exchange of views and using best available knowledge. I hope these principles will help to improve our work,” said Polite Laboyrie.
WEDA Environment Commission chair Craig Vogt (Craig Vogt Inc, USA) added: “These principles recognise the environmental, social and economic values held by WODA, and should contribute to the worldwide dredging community moving forward in a sustainable manner.”
On behalf of EADA, John Dobson (independent consultant, Australia) concluded: “We are looking forward to using these principles to achieve a sustainable lifestyle for future generations.”
Press Release, June 20, 2013