South-South Cooperation for Sustainable Waste Management: UNOSSC and UN-Habitat Launch Waste Wise Koidu Project

August 10, 2021

4 August 2021, Koidu, Sierra Leone: The “South-South Cooperation in Sustainable Waste Management – Waste Wise Koidu” project was jointly launched by the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC) and UN-Habitat as a pilot initiative under the framework of UNOSSC’s Cities Project.

Led by UN-Habitat on the ground, with support from Cities Project, the Waste Wise Koidu pilot is designed with an aim to enhance the capacities of Koidu New Sembehun City Council (KNSCC) and local staff and communities in sustainable waste management, through South-South mutual learning, capacity development training and awareness raising activities. It will contribute to improving local operations of environmentally safe landfill and establishment of a plastic recycling plant towards eventually achieving a circular economy. The project is designed following a demand driven participatory approach with close coordination and engagement with local authorities and key stakeholders.

Koidu Mayor Mr. Samba Komba Matthew Sam

At the kick-off event, on behalf of the City Council and the people of Koidu, Lord Mayor Mr. Samba Komba Matthew Sam expressed his sincere appreciation to UNOSSC and UN-Habitat for their efforts and support. Koidu is located in the Kono District in the Eastern Province, one of the most populous areas of Sierra Leone. Koidu is becoming increasingly urbanized as more people migrate to the city.

With high population growth and density, and economic development, waste generation increases dramatically. This has brought major challenges to the municipal solid waste collection and management system. Under the Waste Wise Koidu project, KNSCC will set up a zoning system for waste collection and staff will be trained on landfill management and accounting to achieve improved and sustainably financed solid waste management.

Mr. Oumar Sylla, Officer in Charge of UN-Habitat Regional Office for Africa

Mr. Oumar Sylla, Officer in Charge of UN-Habitat Regional Office for Africa, emphasized the importance of waste management for public health and livelihood opportunities:

“Waste is an inevitable part of living, yet across the world, more than 2 billion people lack access to solid waste collection and 3 billion to controlled waste disposal facilities, creating public health problems that disproportionally affect the poor. But sustainably managing our waste has the potential to create livelihood opportunities for millions of people while at the same time reducing the environmental footprint of our cities, which currently contribute 75% of total global green-house gas emissions.”

Mr. Wang Xingping, Professor and Director of Nanjing Urban Governance Research Institute

Mr. Wang Xingping, Professor and Director of Nanjing Urban Governance Research Institute, introduced the City of Nanjing’s experience in waste management and shared its willingness to exchange knowledge, technology and technical know-hows with Koidu and other cities of the global South. Currently, with three solid waste incineration plants in Nanjing, the city’s waste incineration capacity reaches 7,000 tons per day. Landfill facilities have also been built and operated to deal with biodegradable waste, with a total capacity of 1,650 tons per day.

To have a sound and sustainable waste management system, waste sorting and classification is essential. The Urban Management Bureau in Nanjing regulates trash sorting process by the four-level linkage mechanism, including the city, district, street, and community level. Meanwhile, supporting policies have also been issued to help eliminate waste at the source and engage the public. For example, hotels and restaurants in the central commercial district are suggested to reduce the use of single-use disposable products. And all residential areas are covered with fixed garbage sorting collection points and supplemental mobile collection points.

Cynthia Olouasa, Associate Programme Manager at UNOSSC Regional Office in Africa

Cynthia Olouasa, Associate Programme Manager at UNOSSC Regional Office in Africa, delivered remarks on behalf of the UNOSSC. She congratulated the successful formulation of this pilot initiative and looks forward to the jointly working with partners to address the most commonly faced challenges by developing-country cities, and to making impacts on the ground. She also welcomed cities and partners to join the South-South Cities Cluster on South-South Galaxy platform.

“What we also aim to achieve through this demonstrative pilot initiative is to engage more developing country cities and partners who faced this common challenge to join and benefit from this learning process.”

The event was moderated by Ms. Francesca Calisesi, Associate Officer of UN-Habitat’s Global Solution Division, and with the participation of UNOSSC Cities Project team based in Beijing. The event provided participants with the opportunity for open discussion and mutual learning.

Initiated by UNOSSC, with funding support from the Government of China, the “South-South Cooperation Cities Project” aims to promote South-South and triangular cooperation at local levels in advancing sustainable development globally. Following a demand-driven and participatory approach engaging local authorities and stakeholders, the Project provides streamlined support and services which include needs assessment, capacity development, advisory and advocacy support, technology and expertise exchanges, and implementation and co-financing support.

UN-Habitat launched “Waste Wise Cities” to address the increasing challenges of municipal solid waste management and improve resource efficiency around the world. Waste Wise Cities aims to support cities and local governments in taking advantage of their waste, achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) related to waste management, and implementing the New Urban Agenda. The Waste Wise Cities Tool, a diagnostics tool that cities apply to assess their municipal solid waste management and performance and use as a basis for sustainable solid waste management planning, will also be used in the Koidu project.