UNDP and the government of Belgium sign new agreement to improve solid waste management in Gaza

July 14, 2022

Head of Belgium Cooperation, Ms Leen Verstraelen; UNDP Special Representative of the Administrator, Ms Yvonne Helle; Consul General of Belgium, Mr Wilfried Pfeffer

Jerusalem – The Government of Belgium and the United Nations Development Programme signed a contribution agreement worth US$7.2 million in support of improving natural resources management, reducing and managing waste, and creating green jobs in the Gaza Strip.

The situation in the Gaza Strip is facing alarming environmental, social, institutional, and financial challenges that have led to serious constraints in solid waste management services provision. In addition, the lack of sanitary disposal sites has further deteriorated the environment, contaminating precious groundwater resources. The five-year programme will not only serve as a launchpad for introducing efficient, comprehensive, and innovative solutions to reduce environmental contamination and waste of natural resources but will also protect the health and wellbeing of Gaza residents.

Consul General of Belgium, Mr Wilfried Pfeffer, highlighted that the programme is not only in line with Belgium’s strategy towards circular economy and the transition to greener jobs particularly for youth, but it also addresses global challenges such as climate change.

Through the first phase, the focus will be given to the establishment of an environmentally and socially sound waste management system that utilized new techniques to reduce waste production. Comprehensive research, studies, and strategic plans will be developed in consultation with key stakeholders, and innovative approaches will be identified to improve natural resources management, waste reduction and green jobs creation.

Furthermore, the programme will enhance the knowledge and capacities of the Joint Services Council, municipalities, and the private sector and strengthen linkages between solid waste management and green jobs creation through piloted initiatives.

UNDP Special Representative of the Administrator, Yvonne Helle, highlighted the criticality of the solid waste situation in the Gaza Strip and it being a constant source of pollution to the environment. “The only way for us to stop the waste mountains from growing and change the behaviour of dumping illegal waste is this programme as it complements other initiatives implemented by UNDP to improve waste management. Your confidence in taking the leap with us to embark on this very complex programme is greatly appreciated,”  she added.

In partnership with the private sector and local community, the programme will also support the cleaning and greening of Wadi Gaza wetland and contribute to the development of a plan and awareness campaigns to monitor and safeguard the cleanliness of the Wadi.

The signing ceremony, which took place on Thursday 09 December 2021, was attended by the Consul General of Belgium, Mr Wilfried Pfeffer; Head of Belgium Cooperation, Ms Leen Verstraelen; UNDP Special Representative of the Administrator, Ms Yvonne Helle, and UNDP Deputy Special Representative Chitose Noguchi.

It is worth noting that the Gaza population is expected to grow from the current 2.07 million (2020) to 4.03 million by the year 2040. The total amount of household waste generated per day will also increase to 3,383 tons / day in 2040, in comparison to the 1,726 tons/ day in 2018. Additionally, 147 tons / day of commercial waste, 157 tons/ day of market waste, and 1200 tons / days of agricultural waste will be generated in 2040.

For further information, please contact:

The Consulate General of Belgium

Leen Verstraelen, Head of Cooperation. Tel. 02-5828263 – e-mail: Leen.Verstraelen@diplobel.fed.be  

United Nations Development Programme

Dania Darwish, Communications Specialist, Tel. +972-2-6268229 – e-mail: dania.darwish@undp.org. For more information on UNDP/PAPP see /sites/g/files/zskgke326/files/migration/arabstates/www.ps.undp.org.