1. Background & Outline of the initiative

In the wake of the official endorsement of the Regional Strategy for Solid Waste Management by the 16th SPREP Meeting held in Apia in September 2005 and the Action Plan following from the Strategy, the French Development Agency (AFD) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) are preparing an initiative to support the implementation of the Action Plan by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) and its Member Countries.

In September 2005, a joint AFD/UNEP mission was conducted in the region. It aimed to start developing the initiative by consulting the main stakeholders involved in waste management and gaining relevant information on the current situation, the priorities and any existing or future programmes. The mission was also set up to initiate collaboration with SPREP and to study the potential opportunities for the French Overseas Territories to participate in the initiative, with a view to enhance regional cooperation. The AFD/UNEP Definition study Report was circulated in January 2006.

The initiative is fully consistent with the Pacific Plan, to which waste management is a priority ‘for immediate implementation’; it also complies with the Market, Subsidiarity and Sovereignty Tests set up by the Pacific Plan under the Regionalism concept.

The current design of the initiative is in three components:

Component 1 will be a regional component, directly supporting SPREP in the implementation of the Strategy and Action Plan; activities funded under the Component 1 should be of interest to all SPREP member countries and states;
Component 2 will be a sub-regional component aiming to organise, in coherent groups of countries to be defined, the collection of hazardous waste and waste with a commercial value. For the latter, the focus should be on market-driven mechanisms and private sector involvement;
Component 3 will provide funding to country-specific waste management projects in selected countries.

AFD’s financial contribution would be 5 million euros. Other public (including French GEF) and private contributions are expected or anticipated. The initiative will be implemented in harmonization with donor agencies and NGOs projects and programmes.

The following sections provide details on the preparation of the three components of the initiative.

2. Component 1

The discussions that took place between SPREP, UNEP and AFD during 2006 were fuelled by the Definition study Report, the conclusions of the Seminar held on 7-9th November 2005 at SPREP in Apia, Samoa, for senior officials to decide on Action Plan arising from the Regional solid Waste Management Strategy adopted by SPREP in September 2005, and the outcomes of the Pacific Solid Waste Partners meeting organized by SPREP in Apia in July 2006.

During the AFD September-October 2006 mission in the Pacific it was agreed with SPREP that the Component 1 of the initiative would primarily focus on:

- Economic instruments for waste management
- Waste minimization through composting
- Education, training and capacity building
- Special issues of waste management on atolls and small islands
- Communication and dissemination.

To assist in the preparation of Component 1, the French Government agreed to grant funds to SPREP for conducting inceptive workshops in all PICTs during 2007 and the beginning of 2008 with an aim to: identify solid waste issues and priorities; identify groups of stakeholders; form waste advisory groups at Government, private sector and NGOs level; conduct training and capacity needs assessments; and tentatively develop proposals for Component 3 of the initiative. Discussions with SPREP are in progress to finalize this arrangement.

An important part of Component 1 will be a training programme to be jointly developed by SPREP, the University of South Pacific (USP, Fiji) and the University of New Caledonia (UNC); this programme will include a formal training course (around 14 weeks) for graduate students together with professionals from the civil service and the private sector; and vocational training sessions targeting people in charge of running landfills, collection schemes or other waste management operations but lacking practical knowledge and skills. Joint training delivery in USP and UNC and exchange of teachers and trainees are planned to take place in this subcomponent. Value-addition from the private sector will be developed too.

3. Components 2 and 3

SPREP provided valuable comments on the Terms of Reference (ToRs) drafted by AFD and UNEP for the Components 2 and 3 feasibility study (to be funded by AFD’s own consultancy budget) and also advised on the tendering process.

Basically, ToRs will more emphasize the extended producer responsibility concept and private sector involvement in waste management, starting from recycling and re-manufacturing opportunities and gradually developing existing businesses. Also it is assumed that the preparation of country proposals for Component 3 would flow on from the work of the Waste advisory Groups set up by SPREP in its capacity building (Component 1 preparation) phase. SPREP would be ready to assist in preparation and implementation of country proposals.

SPREP recommended to call for expressions of interest from consultancy firms rather than directly tender. In this way, firms will be able to provide fresh inputs on how to conduct the works, which may be of great help to AFD and UNEP.

It has been agreed that UNEP and AFD will re-draft the ToRs and carry out the tendering process on these bases. Updated ToRs will be shared with SPREP. Call for interests is to take place before May 2007 in order to have a full feasibility study report by the end of 2007.

Contacts with donor agencies (EU, ADB, JICA) and NGOs, including FSPI, are simultaneously developed by AFD and UNEP. Further contacts are scheduled with private companies involved in tourism, solid waste management and water sanitation.

On a whole, this collaborative preparation process will ensure better appropriation by SPREP and beneficiary countries, and upgraded project design. The project is expected to be ready for presentation to AFD Board early 2008.

Published on 15/05/2007

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