05 Dec 2017 Story Chemicals & waste

The United Nations tackles electronic waste

A new report signals the importance of collaboration and coordination among United Nations entities in sustainably solving the global problem of electronic waste, or e-waste.

The report, United Nations System-wide Response to Tackling E-waste, showcases efforts by members of the United Nations Environment Management Group, who have already undertaken various successful activities in the e-waste domain. It also highlights the areas require improvement, or where efforts are lacking. The report is a result of work by the Environment Management Group’s Issue Management Group on Tackling E-waste, which has the following objectives:

  • To strengthen the coordination and promotion of joint programmatic and policy initiatives in the United Nations system, in the area of e-waste prevention and its environmentally sound management; and
  • To add value to existing programmes, mechanisms and projects including developing eco-design and life-cycle approaches for electrical and electronic equipment.

The report brings together entities’ responses to a desk-based mapping exercise of prior, existing and future e-waste initiatives, drawing information from website and reports by a broad range of United Nations and related entities. In addition, a survey was distributed with the purpose of probing the thoughts of Issue Management Group participants on further opportunities for collaboration, and the challenges and opportunities faced by the global e-waste problem.

Key findings and overview:

  • At least 14 global processes and agreements are in place, which play a role in the control and regulation of e-waste, with at least a further 9 at the regional level
  • At least 154 prior, existing and proposed e-waste initiatives were identified with the expertise and involvement of at least 23 United Nations entities in tackling the global e-waste problem
  • At least 10 notable United Nations prior and existing partnerships and cases of collaboration were identified, which aim to tackle e-waste, providing possible avenues to further streamline e-waste initiatives
  • Views and opinions were given by United Nations and related entities, regarding further consideration for strengthening support for Member States in their efforts to tackle e-waste
  • Characteristics of notable e-waste initiatives were identified, including information on the number of initiatives over time, the total number by life-cycle stage, their type and focus, and their geographical distribution.