City of Suresnes (France)/Municipality of Cap-Haïtien (Haiti): reducing unhealthy conditions through good waste management (10 November, 2015)
Waste management is a major issue both in the area of public health and in fighting climate disruption.
The city of Suresnes, in the Île-de-France region, has been supporting the council of Cap-Haïtien in Haiti on this issue since 2003. Cap-Haïtien is the country’s second most populous city after Port-au-Prince, so waste management is a crucial issue.
For the past 12 years, Suresnes and Cap-Haïtien have together been running a waste integration project, the aim of which is to improve the living conditions of the entire population by focusing on health and the environment. The project aims to establish a permanent waste collection circuit and to build an inter-municipal industrial landfill.
Integrated waste and environmental management (GIDE project)
In the municipality of Cap-Haïtien, located in Haiti’s Nord department
How many people will benefit?
Since when has this partnership been in place?
The cities of Suresnes and Cap-Haïtien have been involved in cooperation since 1998. This cooperation has resulted in many waste management projects, although not exclusively: preserving and enhancing heritage, capacity building within the town council and for vulnerable children are also areas of cooperation between the two cities.
Background and challenges
Waste is a major challenge both in the field of public health and in the fight against climate disruption:
5% of global greenhouse gas emissions are caused by waste decomposition and treatment.
Household waste accounts for 50% of world waste production.
About 0.6 kg of waste per day is produced per capita in developing countries, compared with 2.1 kg in developed countries.
The collection rate of waste is almost 100% in European countries; it is under 50% in sub-Saharan Africa.
In areas where waste is not collected, diarrhoea incidences are doubled and those of respiratory infections increase sixfold.
In the next 10 years, waste generation in the world will rise by 1.3 billion to 2.2 billion tonnes. In developing countries, the cost of waste management will increase fivefold. Rarely or poorly managed waste proliferation has very negative impacts: pollution of soil and groundwater, transmission of diseases, respiratory and digestive disorders, and greenhouse gas emissions. Local governments in developing countries are directly affected by this proliferation and have few financial resources to deal with it. The impact of waste on public health and sanitary conditions makes the situation very critical.
Cap-Haïtien: a centre of development in Haiti following the 2010 earthquake.
Located 275 kilometres from the capital, in terms of population Cap-Haïtien is the second-largest city in the country after Port-au-Prince. The population of Cap-Haïtien has grown exponentially, increasing 20-fold in the past 60 years, and is now estimated at around 600,000 people.
And yet it has great potential for tourism: a remarkable colonial architectural heritage and proximity to UNESCO World Heritage sites like the Citadel and the Palace of Sans Souci. It also represents an opening to the American and Caribbean area, a port and an international airport, which makes it a centre of development in the State strategies following the earthquake in 2010.
The city of Suresnes has provided waste management support to Cap-Haïtien since 2003. This cooperation is part of a technical support and institutional capacity-building initiative to enable the city hall of Cap-Haïtien to take ownership of its areas of competence and become the sole manager of its territory.
What are the objectives?
- Reduce unhealthy conditions;
Improve the living conditions for the entire population, from a health and environment perspective;
Make the population aware of the challenges relating to waste.
This is an inter-municipal project intended to create Haiti’s first industrial landfill meeting international standards, whose operation is financed by users by means of a charge.
Who are the stakeholders (partners and sponsors)?
The city of Cap-Haïtien, the Alliance française of Cap-Haïtien, the French school of Cap-Haïtien, the Justinien Hospital of Cap-Haïtien, the Haitian Resource Development Foundation, the Institute of Judicial, Economic and Regional Development Sciences (INUJED) at the University of Cap-Haïtien, the city of Suresnes, the French Development Agency (AFD), the National Higher Institute for Training and Research for the Education of Young. Disabled Persons and Adapted Teaching (INSHEA), schools and secondary schools in Suresnes, the Suresnes communal youth council.
The project in brief
The municipality’s resources enable it to keep the city’s historic district relatively clean. On the other hand, around the historic centre, which consists mainly of informal dwellings, waste is found everywhere and used as backfill on mangroves and the waterfront to create new areas of habitat, spreading unsanitary conditions and increasing health and environmental hazards. Gullies, which are cleared occasionally, do not play their role of draining rainwater, while floods become structural during episodes of tropical rain, causing serious material damage and often human losses.
The GIDE project aims to establish a permanent waste collection circuit and to build an inter-municipal industrial landfill initiated by the mayors of Cap-Haïtien, Limonade and Quartier Morin. Since Cap-Haïtien city hall is managing the project, there is a dedicated budget for building its capacities. The city of Suresnes is mobilizing its officials to provide support and advice based on three themes: general administration, the Planning Directorate which includes the cleanliness service, and taxation to allow the municipality to improve efficiency and capacities for managing municipal powers over the long term.
What difficulties have been met?
- The lack of a national master plan for organizing waste treatment;
The lack of trained city hall executives and of local government internal financial resources;
The lack of land tenure for building infrastructure;
Project stakeholders need to involve the existing informal economy;
Creating sustainable public services;
Donors’ mitigation procedures and measures are not always suited to local realities, in particular as regards dealing with informal activities.
Solutions provided and results obtained
Support from the city of Suresnes has helped make project-oriented recommendations to:
Follow call for tender procedures;
Organize regular sectoral dialogues with civil society;
Define an economic model to finance waste collection and treatment;
Introduce modelling to create a charge based on setting up a sustainable public service paid for by users;
Define a waste treatment governance model by creating an inter-municipal structure comprising three municipalities;
Validate the waste collection and treatment strategic plan;
Draw up a public awareness and communication plan;
Recruit, in May 2015, a person responsible for organizing events in the territory and for grassroots democracy;
Ensure project continuity despite changes of mayors.
What is the plan for the future?
The waste assembly point planning studies are being launched with a view to opening the industrial landfill in the second half of 2016. By then, the operational structure should be established within Cap-Haïtien teams, requiring support linked to the new professions and tasks to be developed;
Budget matrices for calculating the charge reflect the costs of depreciation of infrastructure ensuring local government autonomy vis-à-vis international donors, for the future renewal of infrastructure and equipment;
In terms of an inclusive project, the informals who now live on landfills and make a living from waste should join the system by increasing their skills;
The search for additional funding for the creation of a composting platform; People have been contacted about putting in place the "1% waste" initiative.
- For further information on the "1% waste" initiative, download the brochure :
Website of the city of Suresnes (in French)
From 17-29 November, the exhibition "Ti Coup d’œil sou Haiti, quand la récupération devient Art" ("A quick look at Haiti: when scrap becomes Art") will be held in Suresnes as part of the international solidarity weeks.
Every November, an exhibition is organized so that the people of Suresnes can learn about a new culture. This year, "Ti coup d’oeil sou Haïti" raises awareness of the situation in Haiti, introduces people to a new culture and organizes initiatives relating to education for world citizenship. Find the programme at the city of Suresnes website(in French)