Since the end of its brutal civil war in 2002 and the relative political stability that followed, Angola has taken concrete steps to address national chemicals and waste management priorities and implemented key international agreements: the country has ratified the Basel and Stockholm Conventions and has also signed both the Rotterdam and Minamata Conventions.
However, the continued effects of the country’s 27-year conflict mean that these efforts still haven’t achieved the desired results. Angola’s institutions don’t have adequate capacity or coordination mechanisms, while partnerships with the private sector remain very weak. There’s also no government entity responsible for coordinating the chemicals agenda.
This is a problem for Angola’s management of plastic waste: the capital Luanda alone produces 6,000 tonnes of solid waste every day, which the city has struggled to manage. Meanwhile, storm runoffs and sewer overflows, as well as possible overfishing mean that a lot of plastic ends up in Angola’s oceans. At the same time, waste from the oil and gas sector and other industrial activities may pose a serious environmental concern.
To help support the Angolan government in resolving these pressing issues, the UN Environment’s Chemicals and Waste Management Programme has launched an ambitious three-year project in Angola, focused on establishing a sustainable, integrated, and coherent national structure to better manage chemicals.
The strategy will be coordinated by the Angola Ministry of Environment, which has already begun the process of implementing the project’s first important goal: establishing a National Chemicals Management Unit. This national body will not only contribute to the smooth implementation of the current project, but will also ensure that Angola can continue to successfully manage chemicals and hazardous wastes into the future.
The Chemicals and Waste Management Programme will work with Angola to strengthen coordination between government agencies, creating a sub-committee to assess current mechanisms and to create a set of proposals which can form the basis for institutional and legislative reform. These reforms will mean that Angola’s chemicals and waste management programme remains effective even after the three-year project ends.
The project will also see Angola establish partnerships with the private sector to leverage additional financing and expertise in areas like waste collection, sorting, recycling and disposal. Private sector participation will also support pilot programmes like the design of a marine plastics recycling facility. By creating a series of public-private partnerships, Angola will ensure that waste management remains financially self-sustainable beyond the project’s current scope.
With support from the Chemicals and Waste Management Programme, Angola will also undertake an awareness-raising and education campaign to increase knowledge and skills among a wide range of stakeholders on sound chemicals and waste management. The campaign will focus on women, who are often more vulnerable to the toxic effects of chemicals and waste. Specific activities will be developed to encourage women to access information, particularly regarding the impacts on reproductive health, with the overall aim of reducing the exposure risk for women and infants.
Finally, in order to ensure that chemicals and waste management becomes an integral part of the national agenda, the project will see Angola working to mainstream these issues into its development goals. The mainstreaming strategy will define a national roadmap and engage everyone from the private sector to government ministries and non-governmental organizations so that chemicals and waste management is fully incorporated in their short, medium and long-term goals.