On Tuesday, June 26th, 2018, the Closing Forum of the first phase of the Sustainable Recycling Industries (SRI) project took place to mark the conclusion of phase 1 of the project which nearly lasted for two years.
The SRI Project in Egypt is implemented by the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology in collaboration with the Centre for Environment and Development for the Arab Region and Euorope (CEDARE), with the support of the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), World Resource Forum Association (WRFA) & Sofies.
Attended by Eng. Khalid Al Attar, Deputy Minister, MCIT; Ms. Corinne Henchoz Pignani, Director of the International Cooperation Office, representing the Swiss Ambassador to the Arab Republic of Egypt; Mr. Adel El Shafei, representative of the Head of the Waste Management Authority at the Ministry of Environment; Dr. Hossam Allam, Regional Director of Sustainable Growth Program in CEDARE; and Mr. David Rochat, CEO of Sofies, Switzerland, the meeting took place in Cairo.
The project was designed to provide support and integrate the participation of small and medium enterprises in the sustainable e-waste recycling in Egypt. Providing international technical, legal and logistic expertise for Egyptian companies was successfully attained as well. The meeting looked over the outputs of the project resulted over the past two years since its launch in July 2016 and included the success stories of a number of start-ups and recyclers running small and medium enterprises.
In his speech, Eng. Khalid El-Attar, said: "This Project is an important one of the MCIT in cooperation with our partners. The first stage proved to be a strong start towards strengthening and building a strategy based on international standards, It supported industries engaged in recycling electronic waste and enhanced the capacity of small and medium enterprises according to international standards in adopting a sustainable and sound environmental recycling system to be able to penetrate different markets, besides it increased the awareness of how to ideally deal with this type of waste, preserve non-renewable resources and maintain a safe and clean environment“. Eng. El-Attar also referred to the establishment of a National committee for developing a road map for national take-back system and the National Initiative developed by the MCIT. He also boosted the well-established partnership between SRI and the Medical and Electronic Waste Management Project, implemented by the Ministry of Environment and the United Nations Development Program and funded by the Global Environment Facility, UNDP-GEF.
“Switzerland’s investment in the solid waste management sector underlines the Swiss commitment to protect the environment and the health and safety of Egyptian citizens, while contributing to efficient public services. The Swiss Government is supporting other interventions which complement the SRI in the Waste Management Sector: “The National Solid Waste Management Programme” with the Ministry of Environment and also the “Health Care Hazardous Waste Management" Project with the Ministry of Health and Population. These efforts also go hand in hand with the engagement of Switzerland in urban development and water and waste water sectors,” said Corinne Henchoz, Head of the Swiss Embassy’s Office for International Cooperation.
In the meantime, Mr. Adel El Shafei, said that all parties collaborated to provide appropriate climate to support the national e-waste recycling industry. We also tried to attract local and foreign investments to manage this kind of waste by efficient and comprehensive support systems for the collection, recycling, and retrieval of resources that can be also used in other industrial processes. To this end, legislative improvements have been done recently by the introduction of a new law on waste management, some amendments in the law of the environment itself, and some other laws, standards and operational procedures of the process were added to qualify the governance of managing this type of waste.
In turn, Dr. Hossam Allam focused on the importance of electronic waste recycling industries in creating jobs and attracting investments, as well as the high potential that Egypt would be an e-waste recycling regional hub for the Arab and African nations. Worth mentioning, the deliverables of the first phase of SRI included the completion of 7 reports and studies assessing electronic waste at both the formal and informal levels and the needs of the formal sector.
The SRI Project managed to establish an independent body to plan, control, and audit and regulate the e-waste management issues, and establish policies at the national level in coordination with stakeholders. Setting the auditing mechanism and standards for the accreditation system and assigning it to the Inspection Department at the Ministry of the Environment was another achievement. The Project has other outputs such as establishing E-Khorda Incubation and Accelerator system incubating 13 starts and providing technical, legal and administrative backstopping, establishing four enterprises and building their capacities, of which two obtained environmental registry. Two training workshops on e-waste recycling technologies and auditing systems for entrepreneurs, inspectors and small and medium enterprises & recycler beneficiaries, one hands-on dismantling workshop, field visits to recycling factories, one in Egypt, others in Switzerland and Belgium were conducted.
The Swiss Government supports several projects other than the Sustainable Recycling Industries project in the waste management sector, such as the National Solid Waste Management Program with the Ministry of Environment, as well as the project of "Improving Hazardous Waste Management for Health Care" with the Ministry of Health and Population. These efforts go hand in hand with Switzerland's contribution to urban development and water and sanitation sectors. The in hand $1.17 million Swiss francs-worth agreement between Switzerland and Egypt contributed to setting a green information technology strategy for Egypt.