IGES Centre Collaborating with UNEP on Environmental Technologies (CCET), in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment and Energy (MEE) of the Maldives, organised a three-day regional workshop in GA Villingili from 18-20 July 2017 to develop regional and island-level waste management strategies and action plans for Zones 6 & 7. CCET has been providing technical support to developing countries in creating and implementing national, regional and city level waste management strategies and action plans, aiming at transforming the conventional waste management system to one which is resource-efficient and sustainable. The workshop was organised as a part of its strategy development project in the country.
Approximately 80 participants attended the event, including the island representatives (representatives from island council, administrative office, and woman’s society) from all 18 islands in Zones 6 & 7, MEE, NGOs and other agencies. The workshop proceedings included presentations, discussions, and group activities aiming to: (1) raise awareness about the existing national policies and legal systems; (2) identify the extent and effectiveness of the present waste management system and practices on the islands; (3) identify the gaps with the current system; (4) develop a draft waste management strategy for the region with an individual action plan for each island; and (5) organise a session for schoolchildren to make them aware of the 3Rs (reduce, reuse and recycle).
In addition to being the first regional workshop where national and island council’s representatives were provided an opportunity to meet and discuss strategic plans for improving the region’s waste management system, the workshops proved to be a success in several other notable respects. Firstly, a consensus was achieved among both national and island councils on the need for strategy development, with all stakeholders expressing their strong political commitment and support for continued development of the waste management strategies at both regional and island levels to improve the current waste management practices in line with the National Waste Management Policy and Guidelines.
Secondly, the workshop discussed and identified clear responsibilities and role demarcations between the national and island councils. The MEE is responsible for the development of regional waste management strategy and its implementation, including construction and operation of the regional waste treatment facility, providing necessary support to island councils in making their individual island waste management strategies, as well as through providing island waste management centres and equipment. The development and implementation of the island waste management strategy is the responsibility of respective islands, along with local citizens and other key stakeholders. The island strategy will focus on the 3Rs (waste reduction, reuse and recycle) as much as possible, aiming to reduce residual waste to be transported to the regional treatment facility.
Lastly, participants agreed that each island will start drafting their island waste management strategies with the support of CCET and MEE, and present the draft strategies at the second regional workshop currently planned in late 2017.