Waste Management and circular economy – conserving resources

Project description

Title: Sector Project on Concepts for Sustainable Waste Management and Circular Economy
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Co-funded by: European Union (EU)
Country: Global
Overall term: 2016 to 2022



Raw materials are becoming scarcer, energy more expensive, and, at the same time, the amount of waste is rising. In addition, soil, air and water pollution poses a risk to sustainable development all around the world. Less than ten per cent of the raw materials consumed are currently recycled. Waste disposal issues are exacerbated by changing patterns of consumption, industrial development and urbanisation. Many developing countries and emerging economies are faced with the major challenge of improving their waste management systems. Waste must no longer be deposited in uncontrolled landfills, illegal rubbish tips or incinerated in the open, and it must also not end up in waterways, resulting in climate-damaging greenhouse gases as it breaks down. Plastic waste in the ocean does considerable damage to flora and fauna and finds its way into the human food chain.

Although circular economy is increasingly being viewed internationally as a necessity and opportunity, integrated solutions to the issue of waste are still not at the forefront in practice.


Concepts for resource- and climate-friendly waste management and circular economy are incorporated into national and international policy processes, initiatives and programmes of development cooperation in an exemplary way.


This project aims to integrate concepts for resource-efficient, climate-friendly and effective waste management and circular economy into development policy action and to promote their implementation in national and international initiatives. It focuses on the following fields of activity:

  • The project supports the contribution of thematic inputs to political processes at national and international level such as the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, the New Urban Agenda, the G7 and G20 Action Plans on Marine Litter and the Paris Climate Agreement.
  • Handouts, tools and training materials are provided and shared in training courses and workshops for the target group of expert decision-makers for urban areas (for example regarding ‘Waste-to-energy’, indicators for integrated urban waste management, economic instruments and reducing greenhouse gases in the waste sector). Future measures will be initiated regarding waste flows such as construction waste or food waste.
  • The project develops approaches to reducing the amount of plastic and other waste that enters the oceans and promotes exchange forums with regional organisations or stakeholders from partner countries to implement measures. It cooperates with the World Bank and other international institutions for this. In cooperation with the EU Commission, the project advises Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and China, in particular, on systems for better collection and recovery of packaging and other waste as well as on sustainable plastic production and consumption. 
  • In selected partner countries, the project implements training and advisory measures to create environmentally friendly value chains for electronic waste.
  • The project is strengthening the exchange between the members of the PREVENT Waste Alliance and partners in emerging economies and developing countries. The aim is to develop joint products and projects for a circular economy.


The project helped mainstream approaches to avoiding marine litter in the G20 Action Plan, the G7 Plastics Charter, the New Urban Agenda, and in processes under the Convention on Biological Diversity. Several new projects and partnerships have also been created with the private sector on the topic of marine littering. The project has also initiated the use of guidance documents regarding waste-to-energy and supported the qualification of authorities and companies in Eastern Africa, Asia and Latin America for e-waste management. Moreover, it has prepared an action plan by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) regarding circular economy and has been involved in the establishment of the multi-stakeholder partnership ‘PREVENT Waste Alliance’ on circular economy.


Further information