The Minister of Communications and Information Technology Yasser ElKady and the Minister of Environment Khaled Fahmy, along with Switzerland's Ambassador Markus Leitner, have witnessed the Sustainable Recycling Industries (SRI) project launching ceremony. In collaboration with the Swiss government, the project aims to support e-waste recycling industries in Egypt.
Swiss and international experts of the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (EMPA), responsible for supervising the project’s implementation, participated in the event. This is in addition to a number of local and international experts specialized in this field, whether from relevant ministries, civil society, international organizations or the private sector.
The event has shed light on the objectives of the project that aim to provide legal, administrative and technical support such as promoting capacity building and training for the integration and participation of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in recycling e-waste and practicing good governance of secondary non-renewable resources. This is in addition to raising national competencies of the formal and informal sectors to achieve sustainability of the recycling process and the creation of jobs for young people.
The event has also reviewed the project executive steps, which focus on the development of relevant standards, policies and laws and the development of mechanisms that stimulate the application of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR).
In addition, the project focuses on implementing an incubation program for young people, developing a program that builds capacity and skills and developing an accreditation system for companies operating in the field of e-waste recycling. This is in addition to preparing a draft law for the sustainable e-waste management, setting standards and specifications and establishing a financing system for sustainable recycling industries in Egypt.
Both ministers have said that SRI project in Egypt comes within the framework of the state's general strategy in the environment field. The project is part of the Ministry of Environment (MoE) strategy for the management of e-waste in particular, in cooperation with the Global Environment Facility (GEF). Work will be undertaken collectively to maximize the utilization of allocated financial and technical resources for the public interest.
ElKady has underlined the significant role of ICT applications in addressing the challenges facing the environment, stating that this project is within the framework of the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) plan to contribute to improving sustainable development policies and driving economic growth by encouraging investment in the field of eco-friendly technology.
For his part, Leitner said that SRI project will turn e-waste into job opportunities through financial, administrative, legal and technical support. It will also encourage Egyptian SMEs to develop their work through e-waste recycling in a safe and environmentally friendly way.
MCIT and the Embassy of Switzerland signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in March to foster sustainable management of e-waste, support SMEs and encourage involvement in the industries of recycling and extracting secondary materials in environmentally and economically sustainable ways.
moreover, the MoU aims at maximizing the use of precious metals in e-waste and ensuring their recycling in a manner that is safe for human health and the environment. During the two-year MoU ending 31 December 2017, the Swiss Government is committed to providing financial contribution to support the implementation of these projects.
The MoU also contributes to achieving the objectives of the “Green ICT” program that has been adopted by MCIT and the Ministry of Environment (MOE) since 2010.