Strengthening of the Regional Cooperation of Arab States in Hazardous Waste Management and Trans-boundary Control
What is the Project About:
Inadequate hazardous waste (HW) management in most of the 22 Arab countries served by the Basel Convention Regional Centre for Training and Technology Transfer for Arab States in Egypt (BCRC-Egypt) generates considerable public health and environmental problems, including contamination of soil and water. It also prevents the countries of the region from meeting their obligations under the Basel Convention. The Government of Finland has previously supported the BCRC-Egypt through the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in 2006-2010 to develop the institutional capacity of the Center and explore the challenges concerning hazardous wastes in the Arab countries.
Now a project financially managed by UNDP Egypt is implemented with the overall objective of improving the environmentally safe management and the control of trans-boundary movements of hazardous wastes in the Arab countries. The purpose of the project is to develop BCRC-Egypt into a sustainable regional knowledge and service Centre on hazardous waste issues for the Arab countries, as well as to consolidate the achievements of the previous phase of the project.
What Have We Accomplished So Far:
The project has organized three regional training workshops for focal points in Arab States including the following:
Reporting to Basel Convention
Management of medical wastes
Who finances this project?
Government of Finland
Delivery in previous fiscal year
1. The Basel Convention (BC) was adopted in 1989 and it entered into force in May 1992.
2. In 1995 Egypt was selected to host the Basel Convention Sub-Regional Centre (BCRC) “for Arabic-speaking countries in Africa”, and in 2002, Decision VI/9 extended the geographic coverage to serve the other Arabic-speaking countries. Currently, BCRC-Egypt is serving the 22 Arab States in Africa and West Asia, in addition to Iraq and Palestinian Authority.
3. Since the year 2000, BCRC-Egypt has been implementing regional activities supported by Secretariat of the Basel Convention (SBC), UNIDO, Stockholm Convention (SC), and the Government of Finland.
4. The activities covered several technical and institutional capacity building issues in the region, including sound management of hazardous wastes, the Basel Convention and its protocol on liability and compensation, landfills, inventory of hazardous wastes, illegal traffic, liquid hazardous waste management, e-waste assessment, and many other issues of hazardous waste management.
5. During the first phase of the Finnish Funded Project, BCRC-Egypt, with support from the SBC, implemented 8 training workshops and 15 pilot projects addressing many of the hazardous waste management priority needs in the member countries. These capacity building activities benefited about 20 out of the 22 Arab countries. A Total number of 264 individuals were trained via the training workshops, of which ladies comprised 63 (about 23.8%) in the period March, 2006 to October, 2008. Furthermore, on-the-job training via the 15 pilot projects were implemented in eight member countries.
6. Arab countries’ needs/requests to respond to the convention commitments v member vary widely but include needs for capacity building and training in:
- Legal drafting.
- National reporting to SBC.
- Basic training in HWM.
- Training of customs officers and control of illegal HW dumping e.g. shipwrecks.
- Management of medical waste.
- Planning, designing, and managing HW disposal/recycling facilities.
- Development of HW inventories.
- Management and/or recycling of specific waste (Mercury, Asbestos, waste oil, cyanide, drilling mud waste, pesticides, PCB, expired drugs, e-waste).
- Analytical HW identification and classification.
7. In response to the above needs, the Finnish Government approved funding a second phase for the project that focuses on common priority needs, produce most effective impact, and achieve cost efficiency. Some of these needs may require the intervention in the form of training workshops, on-the-job training (piloting), and hands-on training, while others may be addressed through posting training material on the BCRC-Egypt website. As the member countries have extremely different financial capacities, the new intervention will provide solutions commensurate with the financial capacity of each member country or group of countries. Further, the intervention also addresses the low/poor public awareness on hazardous waste management aspects in most of the member countries, including HW health impacts.