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Accelerating Waste Management Plans at the National Level to Reduce Short-Lived Climate Pollutants

On behalf of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC), CCAP is organizing the Municipal Solid Waste Initiative (MSWI) to reduce short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs) workshop in Washington D.C. on March 31-April 1, 2016.

The CCAC is a partnership of governments, non-government organizations and the private sector that work together to make meaningful reductions in SLCPs, such as black carbon, methane and tropospheric ozone. SLCPs occupy a relatively short lifetime in the atmosphere, but can have damaging impacts on health, agriculture and ecosystems.

While waste contributes only 3 to 5 percent of anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, applying efficient waste management approaches can offer immediate and cost-effective results in cutting global GHGs. For instance, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, in 2006, municipal solid waste recycling resulted in GHG emissions avoidance of nearly 183 MMT of CO2 equivalent.

With support from the CCAC MSWI, CCAP has worked in-depth on reducing emissions from the waste sector in Cali and Barranquilla, Colombia and Concepción and Viña del Mar, Chile. In Viña del Mar, CCAP is supporting the city to develop their financial and implementation plans to build a treatment plant for municipal organic waste and become the first city within the initiative to reach the project implementation stage. In order to scale up these efforts to the national level, CCAP is working with the Ministries of Environment and Regional Development in Chile to replicate the intervention scheme in other cities around the country and transform their waste management practices to ones that are more sustainable and effective in reducing SLCP’s in the short term.

Until now, the CCAC’s MSWI has successfully worked at the local level to enable cities to develop effective waste management analysis and plans to implement systems to reduce SLCP emissions from waste. The initiative has supported 30 city assessment and 16 work plans in addition to several training workshops with participation from more than 70 cities. The initiative now has an ambitious goal of supporting 1000 cities by 2020, which will require national-level action. MSWI’s new National Government Action component aims to provide governments with tools and training to develop national strategies to reduce SLCPs from the municipal solid waste sector.

In parallel to developing municipal-level waste management plans, CCAP has been working at the national level to develop nationally appropriate mitigation actions (NAMAs) in Chile, Colombia and Peru. For instance, aiming to involve the private sector more actively, CCAP has helped to design an organic waste NAMA in Chile that aims to divert organic industrial waste from landfills, promote waste to energy projects and source separation at the municipal level, and will reduce GHG and SLCP emissions. Also at the national level, CCAP supported analysis in Colombia for a tariff reform to take effect on April 1st 2016, to encourage alternative forms of waste treatment. This will make alternative waste treatment to landfilling (i.e. recycling, mechanical biological treatment, composting) eligible to receive the same tipping fees as any other waste processing.

Cities across the region vary widely in the conditions that allow for effective waste management. Some cities lack the financial resources, while others are in need of enabling policies, tools and technical resources. Through the MSWI, CCAC and CCAP have provided cities with the support, and tools needed to develop waste management plans. However, a robust integrated strategy at the national level can align waste management strategies and accelerate the changes that are needed to scale-up and replicate successful programs across the region.

The CCAC MSWI workshop will bring together participants from cities across Latin America, to work alongside national policy-makers as well as private sector representatives to share experiences and develop a robust waste management plan. CCAP envisions that this model can be replicated with great success, both among other cities involved in the Coalition’s initiative, and within other MAIN country participants developing solid waste NAMAs.

For more information about the workshop, please visit our Events page, here.

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