Japan and UNIDO sign agreement on sustainable plastic value chains project in Nigeria
February 11, 2022
Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Environment, the Embassy of Japan in Nigeria, and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), have signed a JPY 319 million (approximately US$2.8m) agreement to support government efforts to develop sustainable plastic waste management through the promotion of circular economy practices and to contribute to inclusive and sustainable industrial development of Nigeria.
The plastic industry is very important to the Nigerian economy and employs thousands of people. However, the misuse of plastic and poor management of plastic waste pose great dangers to health and the environment. Tonnes of plastic waste litter the streets, clog up rural and urban drains leading to flooding incidents, contaminate the soil, affecting crop yields and pollute the ocean and other water bodies. When plastic waste is openly burnt, dioxins and furans are released, increasing public health challenges and green-house gas emissions.
The international community has committed to limit plastic pollution through initiatives such as the Osaka Blue Ocean Vision, shared during the Japan’s presidency of the G20 in 2019. The Vision aims to reduce additional pollution by marine plastic litter to zero by 2050 through a comprehensive life-cycle approach. The newly signed project for Nigeria is part of the “Marine Initiative”, launched by Japan, to support the G20’s Vision by advancing effective actions to combat marine plastic litter at a global scale.
Nigeria has been actively positioning itself to deal with the challenges of managing plastic and other solid waste materials. Two national policies, one on solid waste management (2020) and one on plastics lifecycle management (2020), have been developed with the support of UNIDO. In 2021, Nigeria joined the multilateral initiative against plastic pollution, the World Economic Forum’s Global Plastic Action Partnership (GPAP), and established a Nigeria Circular Economy Working Group to advance national efforts to address plastic pollution.
Building on the results of UNIDO’s 2021 Study on Plastics Value-Chain in Nigeria, the three-year project will promote circular economy principles and practices, which are to be integrated into effective implementation of plastic waste management. Furthermore, strengthening plastic value chains, especially the plastic recycling sector, will be demonstrated to showcase the benefits of resource efficient and cleaner production. The project will take a multilevel approach with a wide range of stakeholders and is expected to ensure inclusive and participatory plastic waste management in Nigeria.
The signing ceremony was attended by major project collaborators, including the Federal Ministry of Environment, the Lagos State Waste Management Authority, the Lagos State Environment Protection Agency and the Abuja Environment Protection Agency.
At the signing ceremony, Jean Bakole, Director and Representative of UNIDO Nigeria, stated that the project is to “develop national and states implementation guidelines for Nigeria’s National Policy on Plastics Waste Management, strengthen recycling value-chains in selected municipalities in Lagos and Federal Capital Territory, and technology demonstration of circular economy and resource efficiency practices”, highlighting that it is the result of long-lasting UNIDO’s cooperation with Nigeria on plastic pollution since 2013, in particular with expanded collaboration with Japan since 2020.
Kazuyoshi Matsunaga, the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to the Federal Republic of Nigeria, expressed an appreciation to Nigerian Federal Ministry of Environment for their bold efforts and to UNIDO for its professionalism and collaboration with national governments in dealing with the challenges of plastics and other solid waste materials. He further pointed out green growth opportunity for Nigeria, by stating that “this project is multifaceted, contributing not only to reducing the leakage of plastic waste into the environment, but also to the creation of new economic opportunities”.
Sharon Ikeazor, the Minister of State at Federal Ministry of Environment of Nigeria, thanked UNIDO and the Government of Japan for their tireless efforts in supporting the country. She remarked the project “is quite apt and could not have come at a more auspicious time” and would “complement the efforts of government in mainstreaming circular economy principles and practices into our National Development Plans”.