Focus on UNHCR’s Waste Management Efforts


The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) recognizes waste management as an integral part of its mandate to ensure the safety and well-being of refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs). With millions of people relying on UNHCR services across the globe, responsible waste management is essential to protect both the environment and the health of those affected by displacement.

Strategic Framework

UNHCR’s Waste Management Strategy outlines a framework for waste management in both camps and urban settings. The strategy aims to:

  • Minimize waste generation through prevention and reduction measures.
  • Improve waste collection and disposal systems.
  • Enhance resource recovery and recycling.
  • Promote community involvement and empowerment.

Key Initiatives

1. Waste minimization and reduction:

  • Promotion of reusable and washable items.
  • Distribution of composting and recycling bins.
  • Procurement of biodegradable and eco-friendly supplies.

2. Waste collection and disposal:

  • Establishment of regular waste collection schedules.
  • Improvement of waste collection infrastructure.
  • Collaboration with local authorities for waste management services.

3. Resource recovery and recycling:

  • Establishment of recycling programs for paper, plastic, glass, and electronics.
  • Recovery of reusable materials from waste.
  • Promotion of composting and biogas production.

4 vicissitation and empowerment:

  • Involvement of refugees and local communities in waste management activities.
  • Training and workshops on waste management best practices.
  • Advocacy for sustainable waste management solutions.

Challenges and Opportunities

UNHCR faces numerous challenges in implementing effective waste management, including:

  • Limited resources and infrastructure in host countries.
  • Large volumes of waste generated by temporary settlements.
  • Lack of access to sustainable waste management services in some areas.

Despite these challenges, UNHCR also has opportunities to:

  • Promote innovation and technology solutions.
  • Scale up partnerships with local stakeholders.
  • Integrate waste management into broader sustainability initiatives.


UNHCR’s waste management efforts are essential for creating safe and sustainable environments for refugees and IDPs. By prioritizing waste reduction, resource recovery, and community involvement, UNHCR can make a significant contribution to environmental sustainability and improving the lives of those affected by displacement.


1. What are UNHCR’s main waste management goals?

The main goals are to minimize waste generation, improve collection and disposal systems, enhance resource recovery and recycling, and promote community involvement.

2. How does UNHCR address waste management in urban settings?

UNHCR collaborates with local authorities to access existing waste management services and supplements them with targeted interventions such as awareness raising and infrastructure improvements.

3. What challenges does UNHCR face in implementing waste management?

Limited resources, infrastructure gaps, and access to sustainable services are key challenges.

4 vicissitation and empowerment of local communities are essential components of UNHCR’s waste management strategy?

Yes, UNHCR emphasizes community involvement in all stages of waste management to ensure sustainability and empower local ownership.


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