Low Carbon Waste Management in Africa

Japan Pavilion
Sharm el-Sheikh

Waste management is still one of the biggest environmental challenges around the world. Currently 2 billion people do not have access to solid waste collection services and 3 billion are relying on open dumpsites, while total waste generation is expected to increase by more than three times by 2050. Uncollected waste, or collected waste which are eventually open-dumped, become a source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emission, which will account for 8-10% of global GHG emissions by 2025.

While supporting countries in Africa for a transition to a circular economy to reduce GHG emissions and other environmental impacts in a longer term, it is important to highlight the urgent need to address these waste management issues African countries are facing, in particular on methane emissions from dumpsites in the nexus of waste and climate change. Methane, which accounts for about half of the net rise in global average temperatures since the pre-industrial era, is a short-lived but powerful climate pollutant. Reduction of methane is one of the most emergent tasks that can be done now to tackle climate change, which led to the Global Methane Pledge with over 100 countries committed to take actions to reduce global methane emissions at least 30% from 2020 levels by 2030 at COP26.

Egypt, the host country of COP 27, will launch the Global Waste Initiative 50 by 2050 with the aim to treat at least 50% of waste produced in Africa addressing both mitigation and adaptation, where at least 70% of waste is openly dumped or burned. This will be the first initiative in the COP history that focus greatly on waste challenges

Japan, a leading country in sound waste management, has been supporting African countries and cities to address waste management challenges through African Clean Cities Platform (ACCP) which was established in 2017 by representatives from 24 African countries together with the Ministry of Environment of Japan, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the City of Yokohama, UNEP and the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat). ACCP is now grown to a network of 157 cities from 43 countries and actively promotes the transition from open dumping to controlled landfill using affordable low carbon waste management technologies (e.g. Fukuoka Method) while developing impactful projects on the ground, using SDG indicator 11.6.1 monitoring as a central tool. The network includes international financial institutions and NGOs to facilitate the bankable project development.

The seminar will explore the synergies between Global Waste Initiative 50 by 2050 and African Clean Cities Platform, looking into important roles which could be played to reduce the GHG emissions through SWM improvement in African cities, particularly in terms of the Global Methane Pledge. The speakers involve High Levels from Japan and Egypt, Secretariat of Climate & Clean Air Coalition, and ACCP Stakeholders.

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