Nairobi, 3 February 2021 – UN-Habitat has launched the Waste Wise Cities Tool (WaCT), an innovation that cities can use to evaluate and improve their municipal solid waste management performance. This method is based on the definition of the SDG (Sustainable Development Goal) indicator 11.6.1 and generates critical information and parameters through primary data collection to establish better waste and resource management strategies and action plans, as well as to mobilise funds and engage stakeholders of the waste chain. 

Executive Director of UN-Habitat, Maimunah Mohd Sharif, opened the launch with a remark on the importance of the Waste Wise Cities Tool in developing sustainable waste management systems: “The Tool will be valuable for a wide range of actors, including, among others, policy makers, engineers, planners, consultants, researchers and other professionals involved in designing solid waste management systems in cities, that are currently lacking data. I hope that the Waste Wise Cities Tool will contribute to evidence-based planning of sustainable solid waste management systems and take forward the efforts world-wide towards implementation of the New Urban Agenda and the achievement of the Global goals”, she said.

Participating in the launch was a panel consisting of five prominent speakers, who are all important UN-Habitat's partners in the fight against waste crisis and plastic pollution. Their remarks underlined the importance of the Waste Wise Cities Tool for data collection and to help cities develop sustainable waste management systems. 

Takayuki Shigematsu, Deputy Director Office for Promotion of Sound Material-Cycle Society, Environmental Regeneration and Material Cycles Bureau, Ministry of the Environment, Japan, said: “I sincerely hope that the Waste Wise Cities tool shall be applied effectively to a continuous collection of the basic data and monitoring progress to promote sound waste management” He also stated “African Clean Cities Platform will accelerate the efforts applying Waste Wise Cities Tool in member cities to develop bankable projects”. 

Dr. Regina Dube, Director General, Water Management, Resource Conservation, Adaptation to Climate Change, Federal Ministry of the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, Germany, said: “this tool is the right tool and at the right time”. She further added sharing the learning from her extensive experiences and involvement in the waste-related projected that issues of waste are not always technology related issues or even political will at times, instead process-oriented issues are frequent and prominent that we need to “focus on institutional development and efficiency of operation and maintenance, monitoring, and accountability – and I am convinced that the tool we are introducing today will really achieve it”. 

Philip Heylen from the Mayors and Municipalities Initiative of International Solid Waste Association said: “the total volume of municipal solid waste generated from households is expected to increase by 50 per cent just during the next decade. So, if you want to be a successful city, you cannot function without a well-funded, sustainable solid waste management system”. Heylen further emphasised that the tools of UN-Habitat and ISWA (International Solid Waste Association) are being connected to ensure that more cities are coming onboard to develop sustainable waste management systems. 

Roisin Greene from the Global Plastic Action Partnership, World Economic Forum said: “The Waste Wise Cities Tool really is an essential resource for cities to better manage resources and to tackle plastic waste and pollution and that’s a goal and objective that GPAP joins you in”. She further added that pollution is not just an environmental crisis, it is also a humanitarian crisis, threatening people’s livelihoods, harming health and wellbeing, and the WaCT is an important and impact focused tool coming at the best time, which will contribute to effective solutions on the ground. She also showed enthusiasm in collaborating with Waste Wise Cities more deeply in making impacts at the city level. 

Mombasa City in Kenya is one of the cities that have applied the Waste Wise Cities Tool. Dr. Godffrey Nato, CECM of Environment, Waste Management and Energy, Mombasa County Government, Kenya reported that through using the WaCT, Mombasa City availed more concrete and accurate data on waste generation and collection efficiency, the WaCT reawakened their resolve to address concerns related to municipal solid waste, and it provided justification for planned interventions in improvement of their municipal solid waste. The results from Mombasa are emphasizing the importance of the WaCT in generating reliable data to guide the way ahead in planning sustainable waste management systems in cities.  

There was a total of 232 participants taking part in the launch, joining from a wide range of organizations and locations including different UN organizations, international development organizations such as GIZ and JICA, NGOS such as World Wildlife Fund, and many of the Waste Wise Cities and African Clean Cities member cities. 

The launching event was followed by 2 days Deep Dive Training on Waste Wise Cities Tool, where more than 70 waste experts and practitioners joining from all over the world.  

The launch can be watched here:

The Waste Wise Cities Tool in english can be found here: (French, Spanish, and Chinese versions coming soon).