Enhancing Parties capacities for the environmentally sound management of e-wastes through the enhanced regional delivery: e-waste activities in Africa

Background

Waste electrical and electronic equipment (e-waste) is categorized as hazardous waste due to the presence of toxic materials such as mercury, lead and brominated flame retardants which are considered as hazardous wastes according to the Basel Convention. E-waste may also contain precious metals such as gold, copper and nickel and rare materials of strategic value such as indium and palladium. These precious and heavy metals can be recovered, recycled and used as valuable source of secondary raw materials. It has been documented that e-waste is imported to developing countries where they are often not managed in an environmentally sound manner, thus posing a serious threat to both human health and the environment.

Outcomes

The project focused on facilitating collection and exchange of best practices with regard to environmentally sound management and transboundary movements of e-wastes among Parties in the African region. Information on policy tools, and regional initiatives to manage e-wastes in an environmentally sound manner were disseminated to the countries that participated in the regional workshop on e-waste that took place in Lagos, Nigeria on 25-28 October 2015. Information on new technologies and cleaner production methods to prevent and minimize the production of hazardous e-wastes was also shared with the countries in Africa which attended the workshop. Considerations were given towards strengthening the enforcement of the Basel Convention in Africa, in particular with regard to transboundary movements of e-wastes as discussed.

A dialogue was initiated with the Basel Convention Coordinating Centre for the African Region in Nigeria and the National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA), Federal Ministry of Environment of Nigeria with regard to existing tools and platforms, such as ENFORCE, EU-Africa enforcement network on e-waste.

The follow-up pilot activities in Niger and Swaziland generated comments and feedback on the technical guidelines on transboundary movement of e-waste and the concept for a PACE follow-up partnership. Further in-depth discussions on the technical guidelines on transboundary movement of e-waste on the national level also took place in the format of webinars for national stakeholders for interested pilot countries. Pilot projects a focused on undertaking national e-waste assessment complimented by specific activities tailored to each country.

The project was completed in March 2018.

Project objectives

  • Contributing towards developing national e-waste inventories and policies for implementation of the Basel Convention in two pilot countries in Africa;
  • Disseminating the e-waste technical guidelines, the guidance documents and practical manuals developed under the Basel Convention Partnership programme and the ESM expert working group;
  • Facilitating collection and exchange of best practices with regard to ESM of e-wastes among parties, including information on new technologies and cleaner production methods to prevent and minimize the production of hazardous e-wastes; and
  • Enhancing Parties’ capacities to monitor and control e-waste transboundary shipments and enforce the Basel Convention.

Financial support

Financial support for the implementation of the project was kindly provided by the European Union.

Overall coordination

Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions

Implementing partners

Basel Convention Coordinating Centre for the African Region in Nigeria in cooperation with PACE and the African Union, Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development of the Republic of Niger and Swaziland Environmental Authority.

Activities

  • Pilot project on Environmentally sound management of e-waste in the Republic of Niger

The pilot project in Niger included the preparation of the preliminary assessment of e-waste, organization of national workshops on validation of data collected on e-waste, material flows and on best available techniques and best environmental practices for economic operators and other stakeholders, and finally the development of recommendations for the environmentally sound management of e-waste in Niger. A webinar on the technical guidelines on transboundary movement of e-waste on the national level was organized for national stakeholders.

  • Pilot project on environmentally sound management of e-waste in the Republic of Niger

The follow-up pilot project in Swaziland identified local e-waste recyclers (collectors and transporters of e-waste) and introduced e-waste collection points. A series of training sessions on the sound management of e-waste for the identified and authorized competent e-waste recyclers were organized and furthermore, 12 trainees travelled to South Africa for the on-the-job trainer on e-waste. Each of the six municipalities received 6 reusable boxes for the safe collection and transportation of lighting equipment, skip bins have been procured and are available for lease for municipalities. Finally, the national e-waste assessment report with recommendations on improvements on e-waste management system in Swaziland was prepared.

Project outputs

Swaziland

Niger