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We’re putting waste at the top of the COP27 agenda

By Practical Action On 16.11.2022 COPWater & wasteNews

Waste has finally made it to the top of the COP27 agenda and we’re excited to announce a new, transformative partnership to scale up Waste Management solutions across African towns and cities together with UNEP, UN-Habitat, Lloyds Register Foundation, ICLEI Africa, the OECD, Climate and Clean Air Coalition and the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Engineering X programme.

Our Africa Director, Akinyi Walender joined high level representatives from local government, waste experts, informal waste workers and private sector to launch a powerful multistakeholder partnership for the elimination of Open Burning of Waste (OBW) in Africa.

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Our Africa Director Akinyi Walender speaking at a workshop for waste solutions in Africa at COP27

This is the strategic collaboration we need to tackle the waste crisis across Africa.

We agree with Desta Mebratu, UN High Level Climate Champion for Waste that, “The most important player in Africa’s waste sector is the informal sector”.

That’s why Akinyi shared recommendations from Practical Action’s work to tackle waste in Africa and Asia, and findings from the Managing our Waste report to emphasise the importance of a people-centred approach for sustainable and inclusive solutions:

  • Waste management is often done by informal workers. They must be valued, recognised and establish connections with local governments, allowing opportunities for youth, whilst addressing gender inequality and discrimination.
  • Managing different types of waste is key. Priority should be given to the types of waste that are most harmful to local communities, and separation should ensure we do not waste the waste but instead help to build a new circular economy
  • We need inclusive waste services to address urban inequality. Everyone needs access to waste collection services and clean streets and neighbourhoods right across the city, including the most marginalised communities.
  • Local governments need to collaborate with existing waste workers and listen to the voices of women, youth and low-income communities, to ensure inclusive decision-making and to balance investment between people, systems and infrastructure.
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These projections were presented by UN Habitat show the urgency of tackling the waste crisis at COP27

On Tuesday we heard from the International Alliance of Waste Pickers that their members “are the everyday environmental actors”. We recognise this and through our new, collaborative partnership, intend to work closely with local governments and communities on the frontline of the waste crisis to scale our work and tackle open waste burning in Africa!

Find out more about our Managing our Waste report here: