In October 2008, the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) launched the Green Economy initiative, in response to the global financial and economic crisis in addition to the scarcity of natural resources, growth of the waste market, progress in waste management technologies, need for economic diversification and jobs opportunities. These factors triggered the increase “greening” of the Solid Waste Management (SWM) sector.
Greening of this sector represents a policy shift from the conventional SWM practices towards measures which promote waste reduction, reuse, recycling and recovery, while as the same time create jobs, and contributes positively to the economy. This process starts with promoting policies that aim at avoiding or preventing the generation of waste in the first place, reduction, recycling, recovery, and disposal as being the last option.
Throughout the years, SWM has generally received low priority in the MENA region. It was not only being viewed as a non-productive sector, but one that represents a high weight on government budget. This concept now has been gradually changing, considering that solid waste also represents a major environmental and health hazard for countries of the region. The problem is further being aggravated by an increase in the volume of waste as a result of population growth, rate of urbanization, rural to urban migration, and changing consumption patterns.
Governments in the MENA region should recognize the need and opportunities of developing clear visions, holistic strategies, plan of action, and guidelines for the SWM sector, plus setting clear goals and means of implementation specifically designed for this matter. The experience of several industrialized countries has demonstrated positive outcomes from policies that shift traditional SWM into a modern and sustainable resource management.
Good governance, appropriate legislative framework, public communication, public-private partnerships are some of the enabling key conditions for greening the SWM sector.
In this SWEEP-Net Publication, you will find guidelines for practitioners, policy and decision makers for greening of the SWM, with a view of generating economic activities and creating jobs, especially for the MENA Region.