UNRISD: Shaping the Future of Waste Management through Research and Innovation


The United Nations Environment Programme’s Resource Efficiency and Sustainable Development Branch (UNRISD) plays a pivotal role in shaping the future of waste management through research, innovation, and policy guidance. With a focus on resource efficiency and circular economy principles, UNRISD works to transform waste from a burden into a valuable resource.

Research and Innovation

UNRISD’s research arm conducts in-depth studies on innovative waste management technologies and approaches. This includes:

  • Circular economy assessments: Evaluating the potential for resource recovery and reuse in different sectors.
  • Life cycle assessments: Identifying environmental hotspots and opportunities for improvement.
  • Innovative financing models: Developing sustainable financing mechanisms for waste management.
  • Emerging technologies: Exploring the application of AI, blockchain, and other digital solutions.

Policy Guidance and Advocacy

UNRISD translates research findings into practical policy guidance and advocacy materials. This includes:

  • Technical guidelines: Providing technical specifications and standards for sustainable waste management technologies.
  • Policy briefs: Summarizing key findings and recommendations to policymakers.
  • Awareness materials: Raising public awareness about the importance of waste management and resource efficiency.

Collaboration and Partnerships

UNRISD fosters collaboration and partnerships with stakeholders across sectors. This includes:

  • Governments: Working with governments to implement innovative waste management policies.
  • Private sector: Engaging businesses in the development and deployment of sustainable technologies.
  • Civil society: Collaborating with NGOs and communities to ensure equitable access to sustainable waste management.

Key Initiatives

UNRISD has several ongoing initiatives to promote sustainable waste management, such as:

  • Resource Efficiency Knowledge Hub: A platform for sharing knowledge and resources on resource efficiency.
  • Global Waste Management Outlook: An annual report tracking global trends and innovations in waste management.
  • Sustainable Waste Management Network: A global network of experts working on sustainable waste management.


UNRISD’s work is vital in shaping the future of waste management by fostering innovation, promoting resource efficiency, and facilitating the transition towards a circular economy. By providing research-backed guidance and fostering collaboration, UNRISD empowers stakeholders to implement sustainable waste management solutions.


1. What is the focus of UNRISD’s research on waste management?

UNRISD’s research focuses on innovative technologies and approaches to enhance resource efficiency, promote the circular economy, and reduce waste.

2. How does UNRISD translate research findings into policy recommendations?

UNRISD translates research findings into practical policy guidance and advocacy materials to inform decision-making.

3. What are some of the key initiatives of UNRISD on waste management?

UNRISD has several ongoing initiatives to promote sustainable waste management, such as the Resource Efficiency Knowledge Hub and the Global Waste Management Outlook.


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