National waste action programme

Ongoing
started:
2012

The Waste Initiative strives to effect meaningful improvement on a specific aspect of solid waste management – reduction of short-lived climate pollutant (SLCP) emissions, including methane and black carbon. The successful delivery of waste collection and disposal activities to avoid SLCP emissions depends on a combination of public and private solutions, including technology, policy, and public engagement. Therefore, opportunities exist for the Waste Initiative and its national partners to provide technical assistance, policy guidance, and institutional support. Learn how to take action!

Challenges

Waste is commonly thought of as a local issue, with municipalities taking responsibility for proper waste disposal. However, proper solid waste management can be a multi-jurisdictional challenge. For example, leachate released from landfills or dumpsites might enter the water table and negatively impact water quality for outside communities, risking larger-scale environmental and human health harm.

Effective national waste management policies can help ensure communities are conducting proper waste management. Some countries lack waste management policies and regulatory frameworks at the national or municipal levels or both. Also, national and regional policies can impede certain actions that would reduce SLCP emissions at the city and regional level (e.g., national policies that prevent municipalities from feeding electricity generated into the grid; national subsidies for chemical fertilizers that act as a disincentive to local composting programs).  

Objectives

The Waste Initiative supports countries that have indicated strong political will to develop national policies in support of SLCP-reducing solid waste actions at the local level. This national-level support for local action builds a foundation for replicating and scaling up the actions of individual cities, with the potential to generate substantial emissions reductions across many cities.

The Waste Initiative seeks to enhance country capacity to undertake effective national planning, policy development, and program development that addresses SLCP reductions in the waste sector. This enhanced capacity is expected to lead to effective national action in identified priority areas while contributing to the overall Coalition goal of achieving significant reductions in SLCP emissions.

What we're doing

Solid waste management can advance national objectives and climate mitigation efforts. The Waste Initiative supports the adoption of policies and measures that will help national governments and their localities reduce SLCP emissions from the waste sector. Assistance generally falls within three areas: policy guidance, institutional support and coordination, and technical assistance.

Policy Guidance: The Waste Initiative provides direct assistance to countries in developing and establishing national policies, legislation, or strategies. National policies and legislation typically address:

  • National objectives for waste management and emissions mitigation
  • Technical requirements for waste management practices
  • Programs and incentives for waste management and related activities (e.g., renewable energy incentives)
  • Enforcement and penalties for waste management violations

Institutional Support and Coordination: The Waste Initiative assists national governments in convening key stakeholders at the highest political levels and providing capacity building services. Activities typically include:

  • Advisory or consultation committees to scale up local action
  • Collaboration between national and local leaders in developing appropriate waste management policies, programs, and technologies
  • Bilateral dialogue and cooperation between countries wishing to reduce their SLCP emissions

Technical Assistance: The Waste Initiative provides direct technical assistance to country partners to increase their technical knowledge and capabilities. Common technical assistance topics include:

  • Waste management practices and SLCP mitigation strategies, such as organic waste diversion, landfill gas capture and use, and open waste burning prevention
  • Waste sector project financing mechanisms

Resources & tools

Activity contact

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

Initiatives

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