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11-03-2019
Environmentally Sound Management of Waste

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Environmentally sound management of waste*

Submitted by the League of Arab States, Chile, Sri Lanka and Turkey

The United Nations Environment Assembly,​​​​​​​

Appreciating UNEA 4’s focus on Innovative Solutions for Environmental Challenges and Sustainable Consumption and Production,

Recalling General Assembly resolution 66/288 of 27 July 2012, on the outcome document of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, entitled “The future we want” in particular those paragraphs relevant to sound management of chemicals and waste as well as those on sustainable consumption and production, and recognizing the relevance of encouraging changes in the patterns societies consume and produce as an important means for achieving global sustainable development,

Recalling also General Assembly resolution 70/1 of September 2015, entitled “Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”,

Recognizing the international community’s commitment to the sound management of waste and its significant contribution to the sustainable development goals (SDGs),

Recalling previous UNEA resolutions addressing the issue of solid waste management among other topics,

Recognizing that resource efficiency and waste management are relevant policy topics to achieve sustainable consumption and production, including but not limited to a circular economy and other sustainable economic models, and recognizing as well the co-benefits of a sound waste management policy in areas such as GHG emissions reduction, improving human health, appropriate food management, and marine environment protection;

Noting that solid waste management has yet to be given sufficient attention in many member states as a key environmental issue of concern,

Recognizing that 10% of the waste generated in the world are plastics, and 500 billion plastic bags are used within a year around the world, 

Realizing that challenges associated with solid waste management include, but are not limited to, prioritizing waste prevention adopting or selecting relevant technologies, establishing local institutional and/or regulatory frameworks, and developing and managing information and tracking systems and the particular needs of countries in post-conflict situations or countries affected by conflicts,

Acknowledging the success stories of member states in developing and implementing innovative solid waste management solutions, technologies and engagement of local constituents, including innovative projects/programmes such as national and local Zero Waste initiatives in some countries to foster environmentally sound management of waste, particularly minimization and where feasible prevention of waste,

Appreciating UNEP's International Environment Technology Centre (IETC) and its activities including the production of Global and Regional Waste Management Outlook and Global Mercury Waste Assessment and expecting its further works in the field of the environmentally sound waste management,

1. Invites member states, considering differing national circumstances, and in cooperation with relevant national, regional and international organizations and institutes to:

(a) Promote the integrated approaches of solid waste management through sustainable consumption and production, including but not limited to a circular economy and other sustainable economic models, as well as other innovative means, including the removal of hazardous substances from waste before recycling, as well as giving special attention to prepare waste for reuse and recycling, as well as the reduction of landfilling and application of the waste hierarchy for all waste;

(b) Prevent and reduce waste at source of origin through, inter alia, the minimisation of packaging materials and the discouragement of planned obsolescence of products, as well as improving products safety, reusability and recyclability and resource efficiency through, inter alia, better design of products, use of easy to recycle materials, and use of secondary raw material in replacement, where feasible of primary raw material;

(c) Effectively engage the private sector, civil society, waste producers, local authorities and the public, and promote public-private initiatives and alliances, in the sound management of solid waste including through market mechanisms and capacity building to promote sustainable consumption and production, including but not limited to a circular economy and other sustainable economic models;

(d) Support the development or, where appropriate, the enhancement of adequate institutional and regulatory frameworks to ensure that roles and responsibilities are clearly defined;

(e) Work towards establishing indicators and conducting on a regular basis assessment of impacts of selecting and implementing technological options to address waste management along the value chain with the objective of protection of health and environment;

(f) Promote the use of modern technologies, innovations and innovative policy alternatives to support the environmentally sound management of solid waste, and the development of economic instruments and other measures to support waste management, green entrepreneurship and generation of green jobs;

(g) Support the innovative waste management initiatives such as national and local zero waste initiatives in some countries to minimize and develop adequate infrastructure and other facilities for waste management;

(h) Promote public and private sector waste management innovative financing solutions such as:

(i) Development of innovative financial models and creation of enabling an environment for investment and market-based schemes

(ii) Support for job/income generation schemes

(iii) Cost recovery schemes;

(i) Implement and support innovative economic incentive schemes to promote sound management of waste such as extended producer/ trader responsibility, recycling incentives, deposit refund schemes, and other alternatives;

(j) Promote evidence-based research on environment and health benefits of environmentally sound waste management;

(k) Develop and/or encourage innovative programs and tools for raising awareness;

(l) Set standards for food grade plastics, to minimize toxins getting into food;

(m) Strengthen monitoring activities to avoid disposal of waste into the marine environment from all sectors;

(n) Reduce microplastics, including in wastewater treatment plants, and encourage producers to use alternatives for microbeads;

(o) Strengthen legislation to prohibit open burning of plastics to avoid air pollution and its associated health impacts;

(p) Support the recycling of plastics including the improvement of waste collection, transportation and recycling infrastructure;

2. Requests the Executive Director, subject to the availability of resources, and in cooperation with relevant international partners to:

(a) Strengthen UNEP’s International Environment Technology Centre (IETC) and its role in the provision of technological advice and capacity building on the environmentally sound waste management and enhance cooperation with Basel and Stockholm regional centers as appropriate;

(b) Maintain inventories of environmentally sound waste management technologies and practices including those which have been introduced in the global and regional waste management outlook to share with member states;

(c) Assist member states in use of BAT/BEP (Best Available Techniques and Best Environmental Practices) in solid waste management;

(d) Continue to foster sharing experiences, lessons learned and success stories amongst Member States and key stakeholders through existing global and regional platforms;

(e) Coordinate with member states and relevant UN and humanitarian agencies to incorporating, as appropriate and feasible, waste management in humanitarian recovery and response plans “building back better”;

(f) Assist countries, in particular developing countries and countries with economies in transition, in their efforts to strengthen and enhance national and local implementation of environmentally sound management of waste, through the regional waste management outlooks, improving information on environmentally sound technologies to integrate waste management;

3. Call upon member states in the position to do so, especially developed countries, international organizations and international financial institutions to provide developing countries and countries with economies in transition, in particular those in conflict, financial assistance, capacity building and promotion of technology transfer based on mutually agreed terms for the purposes of implementation of this resolution.