Unmanaged waste is a hidden cause of climate change. To raise awareness of this threat, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the European Union and the Governments of Egypt and Ghana will hold a high level side event in the margins of the 27th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC COP27).
Climate commitments are not on track to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement. Reducing generation of waste, promoting environmentally sound waste management, controlling transboundary movements of hazardous and other waste and its illegal traffic are important means to help countries meet commitments.
The waste sector contributes 10% of green house gas (GHG) emissions globally. Open dumping accounts for 31% of this figure, with some lower-income countries relying on it for up to 93% of their waste disposal. Waste transported illegally ends up in public ecosystems, illegal landfills or is burned in the open. Failure to safely manage waste affects health, the environment and contributes to GHG emissions (black carbon aerosols may have as much as 5,000 times global warming potential of CO2).
Prevention and recovery of wastes has positive consequences for emissions in all sectors of the economy. BRS and Minamata Secretariats issued a report on the linkages between chemicals, wastes & climate change, outlining a more holistic approach to address them.
The high level side event on Unmanaged Waste: a hidden cause of climate change will show the value of combating waste trafficking, and supporting environmentally sound management of waste to reduce GHG emissions, pollution and promote circular economy as a climate mitigation strategy. Specific high impact waste streams will be showcased to illustrate the importance of their sound management for climate change, healthy oceans and biodiversity.