Project Name
Solid Waste Management in the Pacific
Project Number
Country / Economy
  • Regional
  • Cook Islands
  • Fiji
  • Micronesia, Federated States of
  • Kiribati
  • Nauru
  • Palau
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Marshall Islands
  • Samoa
  • Solomon Islands
  • Timor-Leste
  • Tonga
  • Tuvalu
  • Vanuatu
Project Status
Project Type / Modality of Assistance
  • Technical Assistance
Source of Funding / Amount
TA 7910-REG: Solid Waste Management in the Pacific
Source Amount
Technical Assistance Special Fund US$ 450,000.00
Strategic Agendas
  • Environmentally sustainable growth
  • Inclusive economic growth
Drivers of Change
  • Gender Equity and Mainstreaming
Sector / Subsector
  • Water and other urban infrastructure and services / Urban solid waste management

Some gender elements
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.


Improved delivery of solid waste management

Project Outcome

Description of Outcome

Key stakeholders (government, private and civil society) in Pacific DMCs have an increased understanding of solid waste management issues in the Pacific

Progress Toward Outcome

Implementation Progress

Description of Project Outputs

Update of current situation in solid waste management sector in Pacific developing member countries completed

Pacific developing member countries agree to outline proposals for pilot investments

Pacific developing member countries stakeholders share experiences on solid waste management issues

Solid waste management knowledge products disseminated

Status of Implementation Progress (Outputs, Activities, and Issues)
Geographical Location

Summary of Environmental and Social Aspects

Environmental Aspects
Involuntary Resettlement
Indigenous Peoples

Stakeholder Communication, Participation, and Consultation

During Project Design
During Project Implementation

Business Opportunities

Consulting Services
ADB will engage an international consultant with expertise in solid waste management and governance to undertake the research, prepare the outline proposals for pilot investments, organize the SWM workshop, and prepare the final report and Pacific Studies Series publication. ADB will also engage one national consultant per Pacific DMC to coordinate research efforts, collect data, and arrange community meetings in each Pacific DMC. Consultants will be engaged on an individual basis by ADB in accordance with the Guidelines on the Use of Consultants (2010, as amended from time to time).


Responsible ADB Officer
Woodruff, Allison
Responsible ADB Department
Pacific Department
Responsible ADB Division
Urban, Social Development & Public Management Division, PARD
Executing Agencies
Asian Development Bank


Concept Clearance
19 Jul 2011
Fact Finding
15 Nov 2011
Last Review Mission
Last PDS Update
12 Aug 2011


TA 7910-REG

Approval Signing Date Effectivity Date Closing
Original Revised Actual
15 Nov 2011 - 15 Nov 2011 30 Nov 2013 30 Jun 2014 30 Sep 2014
Financing Plan/TA Utilization
ADB Cofinancing Counterpart Total
Gov Beneficiaries Project Sponsor Others
450,000.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 450,000.00
Cumulative Disbursements
Date Amount
17 Jun 2022 432,100.41
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