Strengthening Partnerships on Sustainable Plastic Life-Cycle Management in Lesotho
Launch of the Waste Management Information System (WMIS) and Cleanest Town Award Ceremony
June 30, 2022
Ladies and Gentlemen (Bo-Mme le Bo-Ntate),
It is with great honour and privilege on behalf of UNDP to be part of this transformative initiative in the waste management sector in Lesotho, and contribution to achieving Lesotho’s long-term development aspirations for sustainable development. I would like to congratulate the Ministry of Tourism, Environment and Culture, the Ministry of Local Government and Chieftainship Affairs, UN Environment Agency and all stakeholders who collaborated with us in working towards building a clean and healthy environment in Lesotho within the last year in the implementation of the project on Partnerships for Plastic life cycle management project.
Plastic pollution has become a global crisis, and in Lesotho it is exacerbated by the indiscriminate dumping and littering in our communities and towns. Addressing this challenge will require an all -of – society collaboration to develop and uphold shared value system for behaviour change regarding waste management. Everyone, including households, government, local authorities and private sector, must assume their responsibility to promote sustainable consumption, shape our waste management by adopting the reduce, reduce, refuse, recycle, repurpose principles for reducing plastic waste. We all can be the agents of change, by setting an example to avoid single use plastic products or buying less wasteful products which end up in our environment.
Waste disposal is a major problem in Lesotho leading to indiscriminate dumping along roadsides, market, and other public places. The 2021 Rapid Waste assessment undertaken by UNDP across six (6 ) urban councils in Lesotho where the project was implemented found that 69% of the waste generated in these councils is plastic waste, generated by households, factories, commercial entities, and activities in the academic institutions and Government. To raise awareness and facilitate development of mitigation strategies, the partnership was expanded to include the Ministry of Tourism, Environment and Culture, Ministry of Local Government, private sector, civil society and individuals to extend reach and promote socialization on plastic waste management. .
With this, I wish to applaud the Government of Lesotho for the efforts taken towards protecting the environment and through this project aimed at building partnerships and advocacy on plastic life-cycle management and to encourage behavioral change for responsible production and use of plastics in the country. To date, a number of milestones have been achieved that include:
Awarding of 6 grants to community-based organizations for awareness and advocacy initiatives to enable plastic recycling/repurposing and employment creation. The grantees included various groups- women, youth, people living with disabilities and rehabilitation facilities.
six innovation grants for plastic waste- based innovations for promoting home-grown solutions, that are consistent with local context and practices as well as contribute to the collective response in addressing the plastic waste challenges.
introduction of “Plastic Free Wednesday”, and , trainings with waste collectors and recyclers.
Legal and policy frameworks for strengthening the policy environment and beneficiation from the plastic waste management, Waste Management Bills and Regulations and environment community policy
We are here today for the final two initiatives under the project being the introduction and handover of the waste management information system to the Ministry and partners, and to get the verdict on the clean cities competition. .
Ladies and Gentlemen,
We are excited about the launch of the waste management information system and its potential to contribute to national capacities on the environmental statistics. A few weeks ago, as we validated the Voluntary National Report on the SDGs, data came up as one of the critical gaps for monitoring Lesotho’s progress into this agenda. The system’s primary objectives are to manage all waste management activities in Lesotho, to improve the management, profiling and oversight on waste management and practice in Lesotho. The information system will support MTEC and relevant stakeholders to register waste management entities, providing timely data on waste management activities and waste quantities segmented by categories, waste sources, and destinations. The system will be used by government, private sector and other stakeholders in waste management to catalyze evidence-informed action on the environment. We are pleased that the Bureau of Statistics is part of this journey.
Today also marks the end of the three-day training on this system for the relevant stakeholders and users. The system will need to be active and updated to live up to all its expectations on waste management and data capabilities and so I encourage all the trained users to make this a living and active platform. Further, today we will be awarding the towns that came out top in the Cleanest Town Competition. The Competition led by the Ministry of Local Government and the Ministry of Tourism and Environment was aimed at sensitizing the public about the importance of living in a clean and healthy environment. This competition was also used as a tool to measure the cleanliness and effectiveness of waste management strategies across the 10 district of Lesotho. We are all eager to know which districts are the cleanest, and what strategies were adopted that may be shared across the country. Winners will be awarded prices towards implementing the strategies to strengthen efforts on waste management in their towns. It is also our wish that this does not become a once off activity. Finally, we would like to thank the Committee for Waste Management for the excellent work in the evaluations of the districts, it was indeed a strenuous exercise, but your dedication and commitments needs to be applauded
In closing, I want to appreciate the leadership of the Ministry of Tourism, Environment and Culture for a successful implementation of this pilot. We plan to undertake a learning exercise on the project to document lessons learnt, best practices and efforts for sustaining initiatives under this project, this will help facilitate learning and inform next Programme priorities, including strategies for collaboration and partnerships for waste management.
UNDP will continue to engage all partners, and periodically monitor the projects implemented by all the partners and grantees to gather new insights and assess potential opportunities for scaling. We want to believe that this project has transformed attitudes towards plastics, and ways of doing business ,thus, we can confidently refer to you as champions in plastic waste management.
Ladies and gentlemen let us continue the great work that has been started around plastic waste management for the benefit of ourselves, for the future generations, our beautiful Mountain Kingdom and for our planet!
Bomme le Bontate, I thank you!
Plastic pollution has become a global crisis, and in Lesotho, it is exacerbated by the indiscriminate dumping and littering in our communities and towns. Addressing this challenge will require an all -of – society collaboration, to develop and uphold shared value system for behaviour change regarding waste management. -Ms. Nessie Golakai-Gould, UNDP Lesotho Resident Representative (a.i)