Al-Ahram Weekly Online   22 - 28 October 2009
Issue No. 969
Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875

Stakeholders mapping

A variety of stakeholders groups, with differing priorities and objectives, must be engaged in the waste management debate in order for substantive change to be realized.

Cairo's poor solid waste management (SWM) system has created serious consequences on the environment and on human health. Uncollected or improperly treated and disposed of garbage contaminates ground water and soil and can have damaging sanitary results. Given the relative strength and priorities of the different stakeholders, and perceived threats or opportunities to each in light of adjustments in the industry, we must deal with differing stakeholder opinions on many key issues.

The overall goal is to establish a sustainable, efficient SWM system which meets the needs of the citizens, including the poor. It is designed to generate employment and income, promote the health and well-being of the people, and protect the quality and sustainability of the city. There are complementary roles for a variety of stakeholders the political, social, financial, economic and technical institutions. For example, a strategy that does not achieve the social objective of education, the population, or the financial objective of ensuring an industry that is financially viable, is bound to be under-effective, or even fail.

A stakeholder mapping of the system shows the need to bring a range of stakeholder groups into a consultative process, including residents, waste collectors, NGOs and civil society organizations, multinational companies, the recycling sector, governmental agencies and leaders, neighborhood councils and municipalities, donors, and other groups.

Residents must be involved from high, middle and low income neighborhoods alike. They are disgruntled by the fact that they are paying twice for a reduced level of service. Between 30-50% of municipal waste in Cairo is not collected; neighborhoods which suffer from this neglect are the low income ones .

The traditional household waste collectors remain the main source of labor for this trade. However, what keeps them working at low wages and long hours and difficult conditions is the potential profit to be made from recyclables. They continue to operate informally under the multinational companies, and are paid less than when they were licensed by CCBA (Cairo Cleaning and Beautification Authority), and still informally take the waste home to sort, recover, process, trade and manufacture

NGOs representing neighborhoods and households will be involved by mobilizing to conduct public awareness campaigns at the household level and implement door to door campaigns on source segregation. NGOs that have tested the new proposed source segregation system include: APE, ICED, SoY, Hemaya, among others. Multinational companies involved in the waste sector, such as AAEC, FCC must be involved in the zones they service. Likewise the recycling private sector, including SMEs and large industrial recyclers need a steady supply of recovered plastic to feed their industries and reduce the need to import virgin plastic.

Various agencies of government have a key role to play, including The Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency (EEAA), the Governor of Cairo, the Cairo Cleansing and Beautification Authority which licenses collectors serving residents and commercial and institutional waste generators, the Governor of Giza and the Giza Beautification Authority Local Neighborhood Councils and municipalities; the Social Fund for Development (SFD) and the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) at the EEAA which extends credit to youths and to traditional collectors to set up small and medium recycling enterprises.

Current and future donors, including the World Bank, USAID, GTZ, and the EU play a key role in supporting youth in employment schemes, the traditional collectors to upgrade their methods, the local authorities to build their capacities to monitor the system, and other areas. Media and advertising companies support the EEAA's public awareness campaign on source segregation of household waste into wet and dry. Consultants, industry professionals, investors and lenders, and research and legal firms play a key role, as do trade organizations such as the Federation of Egyptian Industries Plastic Chamber and the Plastic Technology Center in Alexandria.

We are at a critical juncture, one that is transformational -- both from the strength of our position and the pressure on government. In order to make progress in this sector, we need to understand all stakeholder interests as we develop our strategy since all will be affected, including: Who are the stakeholders? What do they want to accomplish? How are they incentivized? The long term goal is to reach a comprehensive management system with a strong waste infrastructure supporting it. All stakeholders will need to be engaged in order to bring this about.

Courtesy of CID Consulting

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