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UNECE launches methodology to evaluate the sustainability of infrastructure projects and guidelines on Waste-to-Energy projects for the circular economy

infrastructure PPP

As countries all over the world aim at ‘building back better’ from the COVID-19 pandemic , the recently-launched UNECE People-first PPP Evaluation Methodology for the Sustainable Development Goals can support  their efforts by providing a set of benchmarks and indicators to score infrastructure projects against the People-first criteria and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This Evaluation Methodology can help Governments evaluate and improve their infrastructure projects by incorporating resilience and sustainability at their core, especially at the early stages of project development.

The need to ‘build back better’ will also require more conscious use and re-use of natural resources, and ultimately avoidance of waste. In this regard, UNECE has developed Guidelines on Promoting People-first Public-Private Partnerships Waste-to-Energy Projects for the Circular Economy which explore how the Waste-to-Energy industry can contribute to a transition towards a circular economy through the use of People-first and SDG-compliant Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs). There are over 1,200 Waste-to-Energy plants in the World with a total capacity of approximately 310 million tonnes of waste per year, contributing to around 1 per cent of the global renewable energy supply. The global Waste-to-Energy market size is valued at USD 31 billion and is projected to register an annual growth rate of 7.4 percent until 2027. 

The Guidelines provide Governments and all stakeholders with seven best practice options to make Waste-to-Energy projects compatible with the People-first approach to PPPs and become part of sustainable development solutions. Indeed, the Waste-to-Energy industry has the potential to contribute to a transition to a more circular economy by fostering the recycling of certain materials and the sustainable production of energy by capturing greenhouse gases and removing harmful materials from waste.

These Guidelines and the Evaluation Methodology were discussed by UNECE member States at the fourth session of the Working Party on Public-Private Partnerships, held in Geneva on 1-2 December 2020.

At that meeting, UNECE member States charted the way forward:

  1. Warmly welcoming the Evaluation Methodology and approving an Action Plan to test and use it on actual projects with views to improve it by the end of 2021. To that end, UNECE will launch a practical and easy-to-use self-assessment tool during the first quarter of 2021 and will also develop a testing protocol to collect the inputs of the testing phase of the Evaluation Methodology; and
  2. Deciding to submit the Guidelines as a contribution to the high-level segment and cross-cutting theme of the 69th Commission session in April 2021.

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