City waste action programme

Supporting improved waste management practices in cities to reduce SLCPs from the waste sector
Waste collection in Dandora, Kenya
Ongoing
started:
2012

Improper waste management is an environmental and social challenge that affects millions of people worldwide, and continues to grow in scale with rising urban populations and incomes. Taking action on solid waste management is an opportunity for cities to improve the local and the global community – waste management can protect their local community’s environment and public health, and contribute to global climate efforts.

Challenges

  • Financial: Comprehensive waste management can account for a significant share of municipal budgets, and many cities worldwide are challenged to fund adequate city-wide waste collection and disposal services. Further, despite its numerous benefits, many cities struggle to prioritise waste management and large investments for equipment, labour, and facilities, and are thereby unable to garner sufficient funds. Financial planning is an integral part of waste management.
  • Social: Creation of new waste management regimens must account for informal waste management systems and implications for the poor and marginalised groups that often work in the informal sector. Public awareness is required to alter ingrained practices such as illegal dumping or waste burning.
  • Organizational: Many cities in developing countries do not have waste management plans. Where management plans and programs do exist, implementing and enforcing the plans is challenging for city administrators.
  • Technical: City staff are better able to devise plans of action and implement new waste management practices if they have appropriate technical expertise and knowledge of the waste management sector (e.g., managing complex collection routes, devising adequate fee structures, engineering sanitary landfill sites, operating landfill sites correctly).
  • Political: Identifying a suitable location for waste transfer points or sanitary landfills is often controversial.

Objectives

The Waste Initiative is working with participating cities to help them develop robust waste management systems to achieve real and immediate short-lived climate pollutant reductions and other benefits. The aim is to improve cities’ waste management practices through actions that are sustainable in the long term, that are compatible with the local context, and that are replicable through city-to-city collaboration.

What we're doing

The Waste Initiative supports cities in several realms:

  • Direct technical assistance for developing waste management master plans, waste assessments, and feasibility studies.
  • Direct technical assistance for identifying and promoting appropriate financing for waste projects.
  • Indirect technical assistance such as the provision of tools and resources that help cities track their emissions reductions, determine appropriate waste management solutions, and identify best practices.
  • Information exchange and networking opportunities bring cities together to share best practices, highlight success stories, and encourage peer-to-peer learning and city mentoring.
  • Training and capacity building sessions for city officials, waste management staff, and other stakeholders.

After cities join the Waste Initiative, they progress through four stages to achieve real and immediate SLCP reductions and other benefits. Learn how to take action!

Resources & tools

Activity contact

Sandra Mazo-Nix ,
Municipal Solid Waste Initiative Coordinator
Sandra.Mazo-Nix [at] un.org

Initiatives

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