This project will contribute to improving the management and disposal of chemical wastes in Mauritius, where approximately 17,000 tons of hazardous wastes are generated annually.
The Indian Ocean ISLANDS-Mauritius Project officially launched to improve chemicals and wastes management in the Republic of Mauritius
August 10, 2023
The ISLANDS project, standing for 'Implementing Sustainable Low and non-Chemical Development in SIDS' Project, was officially launched in Port-Louis on August 10, 2023. This initiative is backed by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Multi-Country Office for Mauritius and Seychelles and funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF). The main goal of the project is to enhance chemicals and hazardous waste management in the Republic of Mauritius, thereby protecting human health and the environment.
The ISLANDS project is part of a broader programme being carried out in 33 Small Island Developing States (SIDS) situated in the Pacific, Caribbean, Atlantic and Indian Ocean regions. Mauritius is included in the Indian Ocean Regional Programme, along with Comoros, Maldives, and Seychelles. The Indian Ocean ISLANDS-Mauritius Project, in cooperation with Business Mauritius and the Indian Ocean Commission, will be executed by the Ministry of Environment, Solid Waste Management and Climate Change, along with the Ministry of Agro-Industry and Food Security and the Ministry of Health and Wellness. With the support of UNDP, this project will contribute to improving the management and disposal of chemical wastes in Mauritius, where approximately 17,000 tons of hazardous wastes are generated annually.
The expected positive impact includes reaching the entire population of Mauritius
The main focus of the project in Mauritius will look at addressing the recommendations from the Mercury Initial Assessment report (2018) such that Mauritius meets its obligations under the Minamata Convention; building the capacity of the National Environment Laboratory in terms of persistent organic pollutants reporting mechanisms; assisting the Ministry of Health and Wellness in the implementation of a central treatment facility for healthcare wastes; and upscaling of the GEFSGP empty pesticide container recycling programme.
The project involves multiple stakeholders, including the private sector, the civil society and academia, and aims to achieve several specific objectives, such as establishing effective mechanisms to control the importation of chemicals and products that lead to hazardous waste generation, ensuring sustainable disposal of harmful chemicals and materials, setting up circular and life-cycle management systems to prevent the accumulation of hazardous chemical waste, and raising awareness about chemical and hazardous waste issues. The expected positive impact includes reaching the entire population of Mauritius, with 343,480 beneficiaries at the end of the project, and sustainably managing 200 metric tons of potentially dangerous chemicals annually.
During the launch event, the Honourable Kavydass Ramano, Minister of Environment, Solid Waste Management and Climate Change, highlighted the challenges faced by SIDS in managing hazardous and toxic wastes as they pursue development pathways that heavily rely on imports. He stated that “the ISLANDS Project aims to foster compliance with the Chemical Related Conventions to which Mauritius is a party, particularly the Stockholm Convention on Persistant Organic Pollutants and the Minamata Convention on Mercury”. Minister Ramano also acknowledged the catalytic support and guidance provided by the UNDP in formulating the project, and thanked the Global Environment Facility for funding it.
Ms. Amanda Serumaga, UNDP Resident Representative for Mauritius and Seychelles, stated that “The UNDP Mauritius and Seychelles Multi Country Office is pleased to be the implementing agency for the two child projects in Mauritius and Seychelles and to support the regional child project in collaboration with the Bureau for Policy and Programme Support Nature, Climate and Energy from the UNDP Head Quarters.” Ms. Serumaga also emphasized that UNDP held several consultative sessions with all stakeholders for the development of the ISLANDS project. She also mentioned that provisions have been made for a nation-wide inventory on hazardous wastes while also developing and implementing solutions for its sound management.
The inception workshop also comprised presentations on the Global and Regional ISLANDS projects delivered by representatives of the United Nations Environment Programme, Green Growth Knowledge Partnership, Indian Ocean Commission, and the UNDP. A presentation discussion around the annual work plan and procurement plan and review of the ISLANDS-Mauritius project and plenary sessions on the project’s activities were also held during the event as we move on to the implementation phase of the project.