Regional network for integrated waste management in the MENA region

Project description

Title: Regional network for integrated waste management in the MENA Region
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Mauritania, Morocco, Palestinian Territories, Syria, Tunisia, Yemen
Overall term: 2009 to 2015


Increasing quantities of waste are becoming a problem for countries of the Middle and North Africa (MENA) region and are having adverse effects on the environment, quality of drinking water, and human health. More than half the region’s population live in urban centres, where they are particularly affected by the implications on health and the environment of the often seriously inadequate waste management systems.

An integrated waste management system geared to conserving resources needs solutions that are tailored to each individual country. There is currently no formal, structured exchange of experience on this in the MENA region. Various public and private sector actors are searching – often independently of one another – for technical, financial and organisational solutions. Endeavours to set up a sustainable and integrated waste management system are making slow progress.


The basic principles for a sustainable and integrated waste management system are institutionally established in the MENA region and its member countries.


Existing informal contacts among experts and decision-makers in the waste management industry are to be expanded into a functioning cooperation and network structure.

The secretariat of SWEEP-Net (Solid Waste Exchange of Information and Expertise Network) is an essential part of the support structure. It is a lean organisation with only a small number of professional and administrative staff, so that after the initial phase member countries will be able to support it at little expense. National networks in the Member States support the regional network and the national coordinators in the different countries maintain direct contact with one another.

Human and institutional competencies in integrated waste management are strengthened by networking and provision of initial and further training courses. An Internet portal and a database are being created to aid knowledge management.

As a result of its particular climatic, cultural and socioeconomic conditions, European approaches and experience are only partly transferable to the MENA region. Thus, in its methodology, the programme focuses on South–South cooperation and the use of existing regional experience.

Options for an appropriate legal form are currently being developed and discussed.

Results achieved so far

The regional secretariat was set up as a support structure for the network. Work to expand it is ongoing. Below is a selection of the activities being carried out:

  • A regional secretariat was set up and staff were appointed to it; it is carrying out its coordination function.
  • The waste management situation as it existed in the Member States was documented. This documentation was used as a basis for identifying needs and options for action.
  • Nine country workshops and a regional conference were organised and run.
  • A communications strategy, specifying interactions at national, regional and supraregional level, is being developed.
  • An interactive website to facilitate knowledge management is currently being created.
  • Cooperative activities within the region and with international organisations and initiatives are either taking place or being prepared.
  • The network’s technical and management staff regularly take part in international symposiums, continuing professional development and conferences.

Additional information