Waste management has become a development challenge in most developing countries of which Ghana is no exception. Aside the environmental challenges, inefficient waste management in cities and communities exposes people to a myriad of health risks, establishes high risks of environmental degradation and exposes natural resources and water bodies to degradation and reduction in quality.
One of the challenges identified to be causing Ghana’s waste situation is the under-development of domestic market for waste plastics, which had saturated the country. Others are financial constraints, attitudes and behaviour of people and ineffective enforcement of laws and policies. Local government institutions have the responsibility but not adequate data/information nor the financial resources to effectively plan for and implement sustainable and innovative waste management solutions. Partnerships among key stakeholders along the waste management chain in the country are either weak or non-existent. Various research institutions and private sector operators are increasingly coming up with innovative solutions, but there is no system in place to promote the creation of synergies and collaborations that could bring implementation to scale.
Towards a Solution
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Ghana launched the ‘Waste’ Recovery Platform with the aim of addressing these challenges. The Waste Recovery Platform is a one-stop shop solution being developed to connect key stakeholders in the waste management value chain to promote waste recovery in a larger circular economy context. The Initiative has two components: (1) a digital platform to connect stakeholders to facilitate waste recovery, which will be equipped with tools such as a waste map, a compendium of technologies, and mobile application for trading of waste; and (2) a business competition where at least eight innovative projects will be awarded seed capital to demonstrate waste recovery in Ghana.
Implementation began in June 2018 with a meeting that convened all key stakeholders. A co-designing approach was adopted where 5 technical working groups were formed to discuss the design, operation and management of the platform, with guidance from UNDP. Below are the working groups, the scope of their work and progress made in their discussions:
- The data and Policy: They have defined the parameters for the methodology for data collection, responsibilities, other key data issues related to the development of the platform and its tools.
- The National Competition: They have recommended the process for the selection of the waste recovery projects to be supported by the Initiative.
- The Website and App: They have provided recommendations for the design, structure and functionalities of the digital platform and outlined the timeline for the development of digital tools.
- The Communication and Awareness: They have identified target groups and strategies for a communication campaign to be developed in 2019
- The Sustainability and Financing: They have proposed a governance structure for the platform and shared some ideas on how to deal with various sustainability factors.
The result achieved through this project include the following:
- The co-designing process has given key stakeholders in the waste management value chain the opportunity to discuss issues of common interest to enhance their operations and explore opportunities for partnerships.
- One partnership has been established between two multinational companies and a local start-up company to establish plastic collection points to promote recycling in Ghana.
- There has been increased awareness on opportunities for waste recovery in Ghana through information shared on the Initiative’s activities.
- Increasing investor confidence in the waste management sector due to the availability of the platform to address concerns, provide updated data and provide potential partners with experience on the market.
Among other things, these successes have been achieved due to the following factors;
- The willingness of the stakeholders to collaborate due to their recognition of the importance of the solution in supporting their individual operations and interests.
- The sustainability of this Platform relies much on the ownership of its solutions among the stakeholders and its continuous ability to meet their needs. Its ability to provide consistent data as well as a convening space for collaboration among key stakeholders is the underlying factor for its continuous relevance.
Countries/territories involved: Ghana
Supported by: UNDP Country Investment Facility
Implementing entities: Embassy of Netherlands; CYST; Green Team Embassies; Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation; Ministry of Finance; Ghana Statistical Service; Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources; Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development; Academic Institutions; NGOs; Private Sector
Project Status: Ongoing
Project Period: 2018-2019
URL to the practice: http://www.gh.undp.org/content/ghana/en/home/projects/waste_initiative.html
Name: Paolo Dalla Stella
Title: Programme Specialist (Sustainable Development), UNDP
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org