National Solid Waste Management Programme

Project description

Title: National Solid Waste Management Programme (NSWMP)
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Egypt
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Environment (MoE), represented by the Integrated Solid Waste Management Sector (ISWMS)
Overall term: 2012 to 2018


With approximately 85 million inhabitants, Egypt is the most densely populated country in the Middle East. In 2011, the volume of municipal solid waste amounted to around 21.1 million tonnes per year and this figure is forecast to rise by 3.4% each year due to population growth and changing patterns of consumption. The regulatory framework and the expansion of services and infrastructure cannot keep pace with these growth rates.

It is estimated that only sixty per cent of the waste produced is actually collected, of which less than twenty per cent is recycled or properly disposed of. While public spaces in some municipalities are kept clean, the situation in other parts of the country is precarious. A significant portion of the waste is disposed into canals, rivers, streets or open areas without any treatment or preventive measures. This causes water, soil and air pollution and spoils the landscape. It also poses a serious risk to public and animal health and negatively impacts the economy, especially the tourism sector. A 2002 World Bank study put the cost of economic loss from inadequate waste management at between 0.4 and 0.7 per cent of the gross domestic product.

Despite international support, the institutions responsible for waste collection and disposal are not yet able to perform their complex tasks. The legal framework is inadequate, there is no strategic planning, and the allocation of responsibilities and tasks remains unclear. The sector is significantly underfinanced and there is an enormous need for sustainable investments and services.


Government and non-governmental actors have the capacity to set up and sustainably operate an effective and cost-covering waste management system at national, governorate and local level.


The programme is being implemented jointly with the KfW Development Bank and in cooperation with the European Commission. It is working to establish the structures required at national level and – in addition to the contributions provided within the framework of financial cooperation – supporting the construction of waste infrastructure in selected areas in four governorates. Based on adapted technical solutions and sustainable financing, model waste-management approaches are being implemented in the governorates; local expertise and skills will be developed. At national level, the programme is helping develop the necessary institutional, strategic and legal frameworks.

The programme is supporting the establishment of a new institution, the Egyptian Solid Waste Management Agency (ESWA). Together with existing actors, it will offer new waste management services, including policy and strategy development and implementation, support to and supervision of the governorates, and development and implementation of sustainable financing models. As the current political structures do not allow for the formal establishment of ESWA, the Ministry of Environment has set up the Integrated Solid Waste Management Sector (ISWMS) as an interim solution under the authority of the ministry.

Inter-institutional coordination (at and between the various levels of implementation) is being improved. Stakeholders from the public, private sectors, universities and civil society are involved in planning, decision-making and implementation processes, and networking between these groups has been improved.

New, decentralised approaches for waste collection and recycling will create ‘green jobs’ and promote the efficient use of resources. New financing options are to be explored in order to expand and improve the quality of services.


  • With support from the programme, a national dialogue on the development of the strategic and political framework has been established. A national waste policy has been developed in consultation with all relevant stakeholders and submitted to the ministry.
  • An annual forum underpins and promotes networking between all actors in the waste sector. An internet platform is under development.
  • Operator models for collecting and recycling of waste are currently being piloted in the governorates.
  • Alternative financing models for waste management are being examined, for example Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR).


Further information