5-7 Febuary 2013, Osaka, Japan - The International Environmental Technology Centre (IETC UNEP), in collaboration with the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), is working on an initiative to produce and implement "Guidelines for the development, review and updating of national waste management strategies." It responds to UNEP Governing Council decisions 25/8 and 26/3 calling on UNEP to support national implementation of integrated waste management and to the Rio+20 call for development of comprehensive national waste management strategies (paragraph 218 of the outcome document, "The Future We Want").

The strategy guidelines are intended to foster a holistic and overarching approach to national waste management planning. They build upon and cross reference the many valuable materials that have previously been developed to provide technical support for management of individual waste streams or parts of the waste life-cycle, and to support planning in related fields, such as chemicals management. The strategy guidelines also take account recent policy emphases relating, for example, to "green economy" objectives, linkages between waste management and climate change, and the potential for greater resource recovery from waste. 

A workshop was organized from 5 to 7 February 2013 at IETC premises in Osaka, Japan to finalize the latest version of the Guidelines. The workshop gathered 30 experts from governments, intergovernmental organizations, the private sector, academia, and public interest groups from 18 countries, who contributed to: i) review and discuss the current draft of the guidelines, building on the many comments already received from stakeholders; ii) share practical experience on how national strategies have been prepared in different countries; and iii) discuss the implementation of the guidelines through possible pilot projects and the development of further supporting materials.    

The final version of the guidelines will be completed and published by the middle of 2013. To raise awareness of the guidelines (and Phase II of the project) and to identify implementation’s needs and opportunities, a series of outreach and communication efforts will be made.

Phase II of the project includes the development of supplementary tools, guidance and training materials in order to complement the guidelines and assist in implementation. Potential supporting guidance will include materials in areas where the challenges are especially great (e.g. data and information), for complex elements in how to develop the strategy (e.g. financial assessment tool, assessment of national benefits), or best practices and case studies. Additionally, presentations summarizing the guidelines, guidance and training materials on action plan development or on-line training modules to provide more in-depth guidance on the individual elements of a strategy might be developed (subject to available funding).

Phase II will also include pilot testing of the guidelines for national waste management strategies to prove the validity of the guidelines in facilitating development of such strategies. A series of pilot projects will be undertaken in four to six countries (subject to funding) from a diverse set of regions. Lessons learned in the pilot testing will be included in the second edition of the guidelines so that the current guidelines are strengthened.

More information on the workshop, guidelines, and next steps are available at UNEP IETC’s website.