United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

African Group

Mr. Chairman,
I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of the
African Group. First of all let me express the Group?s
appreciation to the distinguished panelists for their
insightful presentations.
The Group associates itself with the Statement delivered by
the delegation of Algeria on behalf of G77 and China,
Mr. Chairman,
It can be said that the fight against poverty will be won or
lost in cities areas, and that the achievement of the
internationally agreed development goals, including the
Millennium Development Goals related to sanitation and
public health, will remain elusive without a particular focus
on effective waste management system.

Environmental degradation impacts the poor most severely
in Africa. As a result of the lack of fair access to public
health and sanitary services in the city, the urban poor are
subject to extremely unhygienic conditions in their
settlements and periodic outbreaks of water and air borne
epidemics. These facts underscore the urgent need to
address waste management in an integrated manner.
Mr. Chairman,
The Group is of the view that in our discussions on waste
management, we must also bear in mind the other themes
of the current review cycle, as they are all interrelated. In
most of the poorest countries in Africa the rapid rate of
uncontrolled and unplanned urbanization has been attended
with environmental degradation. Indeed, one of the most
pressing concerns of urbanization in Africa has been the
problem of solid-, liquid-, and toxic-waste management.
The monster of waste management has aborted most efforts
made by local governments and municipalities thus
highlighting the challenge over the inability of
infrastructure and land use planning methods to cope with
urban growth, (the highest in the world) at 3.5 per cent
annually.

Mr. Chairman,
A large number of African countries have implemented
wide-ranging policies and programmes to create effective
waste management strategies, including under the Action
Plan of the NEPAD Environmental Initiative. However,
decades of persistent efforts have not altered the stark
reality of the inefficacy of waste management systems and
urban poverty in the continent. This is primarily due to
implementation deficits.
Major constraints in this regard include:
? persistent lack of awareness and appreciation of best
practices, including the economic, environmental and
social benefits, for environmentally-sound
management of wastes;
? lack of infrastructure in creating sufficient capacity
for environmentally sound management recovery and
recycling of various waste streams across Africa;
? lack of adequate access to finance and technical knowhow.
? Progress towards its realization is constrained by
access to finance, data and technical capacity.
The Group is of the view that strategies for waste
management and urban poverty reduction must go beyond
an effective waste management system to encapsulate
income-generating activities.
We therefore call on the international community to
support the efforts of African countries to create sufficient
capacity for sound management of waste and the
implementation of activities for appropriate recovery and
recycling of various waste streams across Africa. Similarly,
we urge enhanced cooperation to foster an integrated solid
waste management approach with a specific focus on
financing 3Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle) as well as the
transfer of appropriate technology in support of the
municipalities of African countries.
The African group also believes that to achieve the goal of
sustainable waste management, a paradigm shift with
emphasis on behavioural change among communities and
the society at large, is needed. This therefore calls for
introspection and wider dissemination of best practices in
environmentally-sound management of wastes.
As we renew the call for increased investment in effective
waste management, we recognize that the involvement of
the private sector in partnership with local communities in
solid waste management activities is crucial. This has the
added benefit of providing employment and job
opportunities for a substantial number of jobless city
residents.

Mr. Chairman,
My group is deeply concerned about the dumping of
potentially toxic electronic waste on the continent. This
growing trade in hazardous waste in Africa is a result of
electronic companies' failing to take responsibility for
recycling their products thus undermining efforts to
prevent the harmful effects of technology on human health
and the environment.
The group therefore urges the international community to
implement the relevant existing international agreements on
waste management (particularly the Bamako, Basel and
Cotonou Conventions) and to provide assistance to African
countries to strengthen their national, human and
institutional capacities for implementation and enforcement
(especially for control against imports and exports of
wastes and waste containing products).
We also call on the international community to conclude, as
a matter of urgency, the negotiations and ratification of a
protocol on liability and compensation for damages under
the Basel Convention.
Thank you Mr. Chairman.