Guidelines for National Waste Management Strategies related problems are often addressed in a fragmented and uncoordinated manner, resulting for the most part in end of pipe solutions which forego prevention measures, and lack an integrated approach, clear targets and directions to follow.
In an effort to assist countries in developing a holistic and overarching approach to national waste management, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) have jointly published the Guidelines for National Waste Management Strategies: Moving from Challenges to Opportunities. Launched on 7 October at the International Solid Waste Association (ISWA) Congress in Vienna, the Guidelines provide a conceptual and methodological framework for national planning that countries may adapt to their particular circumstances, while establishing a clear rationale for making waste management a national priority.
The document first outlines the key reasons why even though waste management implementation takes place at the local level, there is a need to develop national waste management strategies:
National waste management planning not only helps address the problems presented by current waste management systems, but maximizes the opportunities that sound waste management can offer in relation to all pillars of sustainable development (e.g. environmental, social and economic).
National waste management planning supports the local implementation of waste management by indicating the direction to follow and the resources required, in addition to how these resources will be properly allocated where needed locally.
National waste management planning can foster the development of national recycling schemes and markets for recovered materials, and open or strengthen business opportunities in the waste sector.
Proposing questions that countries may wish to consider as they develop integrated national waste management strategies, the document explores the challenges and opportunities waste management presents to governments and communities. Reviewing the various concepts and principles related to waste management, it cites major considerations influencing policy choices involved in the process of strategy development, monitoring and implementation. Finally, this document defines the actions a country can take in order to develop, implement, review and update an effective national waste management strategy.