The EMG is proud to announce that on March 21st, 2018, organizations from the United Nations system, active in addressing the global e-waste challenge, signed a Letter of Intent paving the way for collaboration on UN system-wide support for e-waste management.

The signatory organizations included: UN Environment, the International Telecommunication Union, United Nations University, International Labor Organization, the Basel and Stockholm conventions, the United Nations Institute for Training and Research, and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization.

The transition towards a more digital world and a growing information society and economy offer opportunities for sustainable development. At the same time, they contribute to the growth of the global consumption of electrical and electronic equipment, and – consequently – to growing amounts of electronic waste.

The Letter of Intent stems from the ongoing work of the Environment Management Group, currently coordinating UN organizations to promote system-wide action in this area. Two major reports on the global e-waste situation and the United Nations efforts to address it were released at the end of 2017.

The EMG report on the United Nations System-wide Response to Tackling E-waste highlights the need for strengthened collaboration among United Nations organizations, with over 20 being active in tackling e-waste and over 150 e-waste initiatives having been undertaken since 2004. The Global E-waste Monitor, developed by the ITU, UNU and ISWA highlights the increasing generation of e-waste, with some 44.7 million metric tons of e-waste generated globally in 2016.

Through the Environment Management Group, UN organizations active in addressing e-waste strengthen their collaboration in light of the signing of the Letter of Intent. The outcomes expected include the increased recognition of the e-waste-related work of these organizations, enhanced discourse with electronics manufacturers and recyclers, longer-term negotiations towards an E-waste Coalition and the partnering with the private sector to develop a knowledge-sharing platform to host information on United Nations e-waste projects, as well as global statistics relating to e-products and e-waste.