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Morocco Municipal Solid Waste Sector Development Policy Loan

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  • The World Bank approved a Municipal Solid Waste Sector Development Policy Loan as the first Development Policy Loan (DPL) in the solid waste sector Bank wide and the first Bank's project in solid waste sector in Morocco.
  • An operation built on clear demand and two years of preparation to support Morocco in its effort for the reform and the development of municipal solid waste sector with focus on governance, sustainability, and environment and social dimensions.
  • It is a very unique experience using a holistic and programmatic approach and can lend itself feasible to other urban economies particularly middle income countries seeking an environmental branding for global integration.
  • Morocco produces about 5 million tons of municipal waste per year and could reach 6.2 million tons in 2020 and the contribution of poor SWM to the cost of environmental degradation is estimated to 0.5% of GDP.

April 2009 -  In this interview, Jaafar Sadok Friaa, Senior Environmental Specialist shares his views, as the Project Task Team Leader, regarding the project's impact in Morocco, its sustainability and also on environmental and social aspects of the solid waste sector.

Q. This is the first Loan to be approved in the solid waste sector by the World Bank.  What is unique about Morocco’s solid waste sector that prompted the World Bank to issue this project?

A. With the urban population growing at 2.85% per year and per capita consumption increasing, municipal solid waste management has become one of the most serious environmental challenges in urban areas, with adverse effects on the quality of life, human health, natural resources and the environment, and economic and social development. The contribution of poor solid waste management to the cost of environmental degradation is estimated at 0.5% of GDP, one of the highest levels in the Middle East and North Africa region. During the last two years, the Government has taken two key and significant first steps toward the reform of Solid Waste Management including the enactment the first Solid Waste Law 28-00 in December 2006 and the development in 2007 of a 15-year National Solid Waste Program (PNDM). 

The approved loan, first DPL in solid waste sector Bank wide and the first Bank funded Solid Waste Management (SWM) operation in Morocco, supports a comprehensive program established by the Government for the reform and the development of the Municipal solid waste sector and targeting three priority areas of reform: (i) enhance the governance of the sector through additional legal, regulatory, and institutional measures, designed to establish a clear framework for the sector, eliminating overlap and/or holes in the policy-making, regulatory, and operational structure; (ii) improve the sustainability of the sector through the introduction of financial mechanisms and incentives for municipalities designed to support the sustainability of investments and services; and (iii) mainstream social and environmental considerations into the planning, implementation, and operations of solid waste services and investments. This DPL operation benefited from an extensive consultation with key stakeholders and donors active in Morocco’s solid waste sector, it has a robust analytical foundation and builds upon the policy dialogue and advisory role that the Bank has played in the environment/solid waste sector over the last five years. All those facts make this first municipal solid waste sector DPL unique in its nature, objectives, targets, and the way it has been designed and prepared.

Q. What specific environmental issues in Morocco will this project improve? 

A. Given the high costs of environmental degradation and its impact on Morocco's development, the solid waste sector, the Bank is supporting the Government of Morocco in its effort to addressing municipal solid waste sector issues, one of the most serious environmental challenges in urban areas with adverse economic and social effects on the quality of life of the population. This Euro 100 million DPL operation was designed to support and to solidify, sustain and deepen the implementation and impact of the municipal solid waste reform program in Morocco including improved governance of the municipal solid waste sector, enhanced financial sustainability of municipal solid waste services, and mainstreaming environmental and social concerns. The supported program aims to achieve concrete results, namely: a better quality and access to municipal solid waste collection services for more than 20 million people or 90% of urban population; 100% of collected waste in urban areas disposed of in sanitary landfills; the closure and/or rehabilitation of 300 open dumps; and sorting of 20% of recyclable materials. Meanwhile, the program contributes to the upgrade of the existing Environmental Impact Assessment system and supports municipalities in accessing to carbon market and contributing to climate change mitigation agenda. 

Q. How to ensure that Municipalities are committed to the proposed reform underlying sustainability of the sector?

A. In order to succeed, this DPL will rely on partnerships between the central government and municipalities based on a well-defined incentive mechanism against performances and results. Incentives in the form of financial and technical support are designed to be attractive to and supportive of municipalities committed to improve quality and cost effectiveness of service delivery while mainstreaming social and environmental dimensions.

We believe the DPL program provides a framework and incentives for municipalities to sustain solid waste reforms.  The success of the first Communication Day launched in 2008 to engage stakeholders on reform issues (“Journée de Communication sur le PNDM”), suggests that most political actors including municipal decision makers now recognize the need for efficient and integrated solid waste management. The current demand expressed by municipalities (which corresponds to more than 30% of potential generation of waste) confirmed their interest in improved solid waste management practices and their full commitment for the reform of this sector. 

Q. Are the proposed policy measures adequate and sufficient to address the reform impact on waste pickers and other vulnerable groups?

A. Rather than aiming simply at mitigating the negative impacts of the reform, the measures introduced make social inclusion a key objective of the program. Main measures include:

i) The integration of social inclusion in the planning and decision making tools including: a) Environmental and Social Impact Assessments; b) Provincial Master Plans; c) Projects’ feasibility studies. The resources necessary to integrate social considerations are included in the PNM’s yearly budget;

ii) The inclusion of clauses in the partnership agreements between GOM and Municipalities. The eligibility of projects proposed by the municipalities is conditional on the integration of social aspects in the project itself, including through due consideration to the costs involved in the projects’ proposed budget. For all eligible projects, this will translate in an explicit commitment by municipalities to pay due attention to social considerations;

iii) The inclusion of clauses in the contracts with the private sector operators. Private sector operators engaged in the closure and rehabilitation of old landfills and management of new ones, are explicitly required by contract to contribute to addressing social inclusion concerns; and

iv) The involvement of civil society actors. Mindful of the entrenched mistrust between authorities and vulnerable groups, the Government will avail itself of civil society organizations experienced in inclusion actions, including training programs to facilitate the shift from formal to informal SWM activities or re-skilling programs for labor market re-absorption, etc. 

Q. Is landfilling the appropriate approach to municipal solid waste disposal and is there enough emphasis on Reduction/Reuse/Recycle in the reform program?

A. The solid waste Law as well as the National Municipal Program have selected landfilling as the most appropriate solution toward improving the current disposal practices. This is common to most of developing countries where immediate infrastructure priority in is to replace open dumps with waste management facilities in ways that are protective of human health and the environment. Usually, technology should be selected according to what is environmentally desirable, and proven in the region to be technically feasible, cost effective, and within the management capacities of the countries and communities it serves. Based on the existing SWM situation, socioeconomic conditions, and waste characteristics of Morocco, it has been assessed that investment priorities should include: (i) improved waste collection effectiveness, particularly in poor areas, (ii) the separation of non-hazardous from hazardous waste; (iii) sanitary landfills; and (iv) promotion of recycling facilities.

Q. Are the instruments introduced by the reform are sufficient to ensure long term financial sustainability and social acceptability?

A. Sustainability of the sector is among the key reform pillars of the reform program.  There are two main aspects to promote financial sustainability: improving municipal financial capacity to meet the financial requirements of modernizing the Municipal Solid Waste Management system and improving the cost effectiveness of services. In terms of improving municipal financial capacity, measures include: (i) in the short term, the provision of targeted subsidies to municipalities to cover the incremental costs due to the requirements of the PNDM; (ii) supporting municipalities in mobilizing additional funds through the international carbon market; and (iii) exploring new revenue sources and mechanisms for generating additional revenues such as the earmarking of local revenues and the creation of solid waste fees in application of Law 28-00 and possible introduction of “eco-taxes” on packaging waste.  In terms of improving the cost effectiveness of services, the Government intends to: (i) introduce incentives and tools to promote inter-municipal cooperation and regionalization of solid waste disposal facilities; this will help municipalities to take advantage of the significant economies of scale in waste management; and (ii) revise contracting documents and procedures for private sector participation in SWM.  Finally, the program will be mindful of the capacity to pay of the poorer segments of the population by setting up a gradual and flexible cost recovery structure.

The PNDM includes a communication component aimed at enhancing the understanding of the program in all its dimensions by relevant stakeholders, including local authorities, civil society, public and private operators, citizens, and groups involved in informal waste-picking.

Q. Are the proposed policy measures sufficient to address the impacts of the program on environment?

A. The operation retained the environment and social dimensions as one of the key three pillars of the reform. Consistent with the DPL approach the focus on environment is at the institutional and regulatory level. For that purpose, the dialogue engaged during preparation of this operation has led to significant measures from the government sides. The main measures are the enactment of two decrees establishing first the process for public consultation during the preparation of environmental impact assessments and the establishment of national and regional commission for the review and approval of EIAs. Moreover, a fruitful dialogue was also engaged with other financiers to ensure consistent and substantive technical assistance in view of developing the capacity of the sector(s) concerned.

Q. To what extent other donors are supporting the reform program?

A. The proposed DPL will provide a strong confidence-building signal to the solid waste market that should help minimizing perception of risks and enhance the willingness of the donor community to support the reform program as well as enhanced private sector participation. Several donors are keen to see improvements in the regulatory and institutional framework, and AFD and GTZ expressed interest in funding technical assistance to accelerate the enactment of reforms. More recently, EU and KfW has expressed interest in this sector and they are considering collaborating with the Bank in the follow-up DPL.

Q. How the Bank will support capacity building activities and communication/awareness program?

A. Pushing the SWM agenda requires strategic communication to increase the level of awareness and understanding and build social and political buy-in. A strategic communication program is included under the first pillar of the DPL targeting various stakeholders to promote dialogue and a better understanding of the reform tradeoffs in order to induce behavior change, as well as to manage stakeholder concerns and expectations.

As for capacity building, a key precaution of the DPL has been to identify the technical and financial support needs of the agencies in charge of reform implementation, and the Moroccan government is responsible for the timely funding of such needs through the general budget. As a result, the Government of Morocco has already allocated the necessary Technical Assistance funding and is effectively engaging other donors, i.e., GTZ, KFW and AFD, in supporting the reform program. 

Q. How this DPL operation will address climate change issues?

A. The reform program supports the international agenda on climate change through promoting projects and activities to reduce GHG emissions, with particular focus on the solid waste sector. The Fonds de l'Équipement Communal, a government agency specialized in the funding of municipalities, has already been appointed to support the municipalities in promoting the Clean Development Mechanism agenda in municipal solid waste under a programmatic approach with a potential of emission reductions estimated to 7-10 million of tCo2eq over a ten-year period. This program is being considered by the Bank as a potential candidate for the Bank managed Carbon Partnership Facility.

Contact: Najat Yamouri, Senior Communications Officer, MNA External Affairs
Updated as of April 3, 2009

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