||Pacific Island Countries (PICs) recognize the importance of and need for improved solid waste management (SWM), as indicated by their adoption of the Pacific Regional Solid Waste Management Strategy 2010-2015 (Regional Strategy) at the November 2009 Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) meeting. They committed to identifying sustainable financing mechanisms for SWM, implementing integrated SWM programs, passing required legislation, building awareness, and building government and private sector capacity in SWM. With the Asian Development Bank's (ADB) commitment to managing the environment, it fully supports improving SWM practices in the Pacific to achieve desired health and environmental outcomes. The proposed Regional-Research and Development Technical Assistance (R-RDTA) will help the PICs and ADB to fulfill these commitments by reviewing current SWM practices in all Pacific Developing Member Counties (DMCs), identifying one or two prioritized initiatives for each Pacific DMC from its national solid waste strategy, and preparing an outline proposal for pilot investment for these prioritized initiatives. The R-RDTA will also bring together SWM stakeholders at a workshop to validate the outline proposals for pilot investments, to examine progress made towards implementing the Regional Strategy, and to discuss remaining challenges to be tackled during the last two years of the Regional Strategy. The R-RDTA will help stakeholders to take stock of the current situation in each Pacific DMC, to identify suitable solutions for investment, and to gauge progress made in implementing the Regional Strategy.
|Project Rationale and Linkage to Country/Regional Strategy
Four main barriers to effective SWM in the Pacific have been identified: governance and institutional, technical, public awareness, and financing.
1. Governance and Institutional. Many Pacific DMCs face institutional barriers to improving SWM services, including missing or poorly-enforced policies and a lack of capacity to directly deliver SWM services or manage private or community service providers. Because of these barriers, different actors have taken on the responsibility for SWM across the Pacific DMCs. In some, the local or national government provides services directly. In others, the solid waste industry is well developed and the private sector provides SWM services. In still others, community groups, churches and non-government organizations undertake SWM. However, the effectiveness and sustainability of SWM services in the Pacific is limited by absence of or poorly enforced legal and regulatory frameworks for collection, disposal and treatment of solid waste as well as weak planning and operational capacity of operators (public, private and community) and regulators. Customary land tenures exacerbate institutional barriers by limiting land available for SWM.
2. Technical. Pacific DMCs face a number of technical challenges in SWM due to their small size, soil type, and isolation. These include increases in waste generation caused by economic and population growth, limited availability of suitable land on small islands and atolls for landfill, and small and sometimes sparse populations which limit any potential economies of scale. Climate change exacerbates these challenges.
3. Public Awareness. Demand for SWM services varies within and between Pacific DMCs. In some cases, community demand for SWM services is low because of a lack of information about the benefits of effective SWM and a reliance on environmentally-damaging, traditional waste disposal methods. In others, where demand is strong, community groups, the private sector, or governments have stepped in to provide SWM services. As in many countries, not-in-my-backyard (NIMBY) attitudes impose restrictions on the placement of SWM services and infrastructure. Increased public awareness of the need for and benefits derived from effective SWM is necessary to sustain improvements in SWM.
4. Financing. Pacific DMCs face challenges in financing SWM systems because residents are reluctant to pay for poor service, revenues collected are not earmarked for SWM costs, and recycling off-island is expensive. The remoteness of many PICs results in high costs for consumables for waste management that must be imported. Many Pacific DMCs are also not taking advantage of the potential revenue generation opportunities in composting and recycling. Despite 58% of waste generated being biodegradable, solid waste is not commonly composted privately or at landfills. The opportunity to reduce waste entering landfills through composting generally remains untapped. Recycling is more common than composting, but is very costly as it often means shipping recyclable waste to facilities overseas. The fact that solid waste financing has not kept pace with growth in waste quantities exacerbates existing financing challenges.
As a result of these four barriers, the majority of solid waste still ends up at landfill sites, which are often poorly managed, informal or illegal, and have negative environmental and health impacts.
The R-RDTA is well aligned to Strategy 2020 through the ADB's Pacific Approach (2010-2014) and to Pacific DMCs' national development goals. Pacific Approach (2010-2014) aims to support urban development by improving the supply and delivery of urban services, including solid waste disposal. The R-RDTA will help to realize this goal by investigating SWM practices across the Pacific and preparing outline proposals for pilot investment in the SWM sector. Thirteen Pacific DMCs signed the Pacific Regional Solid Waste Management Strategy 2010-2015 and committed to adopting cost-effective, self-sustaining SWM systems. Timor-Leste's poverty reduction strategy also commits to upgrade solid waste collection, treatment, and disposal in Dili and district towns. The R-RDTA will support Pacific DMCs' goal to improve SWM by bringing together civil society organizations and government stakeholders to prioritize one or two initiatives in the sector from amongst the required actions outlined in the national strategies and then prepare an outline proposal for pilot investment for each of the prioritized initiatives.