The initiative facilitates the establishment of the “Waste Recovery Platform” as a one-stop shop solution to connect key stakeholders and provide them with data and technological solutions in order to promote waste recovery in a larger circular economy context.
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 exposed natural resources and water bodies to degradation and reduction in quality.
Ghana's municipalities face significant challenges with solid waste management. It is estimated that over 20,000 tonnes of municipal solid waste is generated daily with an average of 0.67kg per person daily. Accra, being the highest waste generation location in Ghana, has an average generation rate of about 3,000 tonnes of municipal waste per day, out of which at least 300 tonnes are estimated to be plastics.
Nation-wide, less than one-quarter of generated household wastes are collected and disposed at properly engineered landfills; the rest is discarded at open public dumps including water bodies, whiles about 10% are openly burnt, contributing to the high levels of pollution in the Ghanaian environment.A staggering half of that waste is not collected, treated or safely disposed of, and it’s causing a waste crisis.A recent study indicates that environmental pollution costs Ghana an estimated 5-10 percent of its total GDP yearly. However, Ghana can generate GH¢83 billion annually through recycled waste. From the health perspective, inefficient waste management in Ghana's cities and communities exposes people to a myriad of health risks, such as cholera, dysentery and increased occurrence of malaria, and degrades natural environments, especially terrestrial water bodies and marine ecosystems.
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. The United Nations Development Programme in Ghana launched the ‘Waste’ Recovery Platform with the aim of at 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. The expected impact includes:
- Demonstrate the potential economies of scale for waste recovery businesses whilst meeting social and environmental needs. This could be a basis for scaled up public and private investments in waste recovery.
- The data and innovative tools made available by the platform can help to increase investor confidence in the waste sector through the ability to make scientific-based economic decisions and bring in needed resources necessary for scaling-up.
- Create an online market for recycled products and /or export/import of valuable waste streams, thus helping other initiatives to be more viable/scale-up.
- Facilitate stronger connections between the formal and informal sectors through innovative apps but also provides the opportunity for the informal sector to formalize and scale -up.
- Provide a space for engaging citizens to Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and thus be part of the circular economy.
- Facilitate new types of collaborations between research institutions and the private sector for the development and testing of innovative solutions.
Implementation approach: multi-stakeholder co-designing process. Before implementation began, key institutions in the private sector and government were engaged to get their buy-in on the goals of the Initiative.
Implementation began in June 2018 (https://bit.ly/2G1xN8N) with a meeting that convened all key stakeholders to agree on the approach. A co-designing approach was adopted by the stakeholders after which 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:
- Data and Policy: They have defined the parameters for the methodology for data collection, responsibilities, and 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 (including prototyping).
- Communication and Awareness: They have identified target groups and strategies for a communication campaign that will be developed in 2019
- Sustainability and Financing: They have proposed a governance structure for the platform (Operational Board and Advisory Board) and shared some ideas on how to deal with various sustainability factors (finance, market, eco-factors, M&E).
Results achieved so far:
- 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 (https://bit.ly/2FRJqQd).
- 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.
Providing Country: UNDP Ghana
Beneficiary Country: Ghana
Supported by: UNDP (Country Investment Facility)
Implementing Agency: UNDP Ghana; 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: On-going
Project Period: 2018-2019
Paolo Dalla Stella
Programme Specialist (Sustainable Development)
Joel Ayim Darkwah