The next two major international leather and tanning chemistry events were announced during an online press conference on 15 July: the 5th World Leather Congress and the XXXVI IULTCS Congress, both scheduled in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, at the beginning of next November. As already mentioned, the events will go hybrid, i.e. they will both be held physically and in digital mode in order to maximise participation. The event will start with the World Leather Congress scheduled for 1st November entitled: “Leather a gift of nature” and will continue from 3 to 5 November with the Leather Chemists Congress which will develop the theme “Greening the Leather Value Chain” or how to make the leather supply chain greener. Both will take place at the Skylight Hotel, a luxury hotel located near the airport, equipped with adequate infrastructure and internet access. “The preparations for the IULTCS Congress are at an advanced stage – explained Prof. Mekonnen Hailemariam of ALLPI, the African intergovernmental leather products institute responsible for the organisation – We are working to be able to organise a high-level event and we are expecting a physical or virtual participation of 300/400 delegates”. Compared to the current pandemic situation in Ethiopia, while admitting that everything can change between now and November, the professor said that at the moment the Covid-19 epidemic in the African country is under control as new confirmed cases per day are lower than one hundred. At this time, Ethiopia is not subject to restrictions and those who arrive do not have to undergo quarantine.
Dr. Luis Zugno, IULTCS president, reiterated the importance of participating in the Addis Ababa event which, even if different from previous Congresses, will still be an important moment for the whole sector. “There is a strong desire to restart and see each other again in one way or another. The leather industry is facing many challenges that need to be discussed”.
Dr. Christine Lascombe, who coordinated the press conference, suggested to start registering for the virtual event and change the registration form afterwards into the physical participation, if the health situation allows it. To overcome the time zone problems, Congress papers will also be downloadable for congress delegates via the virtual platform.