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.