By Michihiro Sakai, Municipal Waste Management Adviser, UN-HABITAT Fukuoka Office
An environmentally responsible management of landfill is of critical importance to China because of its vast number of cities and growing urbanisation. In cognisance of this fact the UN-HABITAT and the Ministry of Construction of the Government of the People's Republic of China entered into an understanding in August 2001. As per the understanding UN-HABITAT will facilitate introducing the Fukuoka Method landfill design in three pilot cities in demonstration scale, so that once the project is finished China could replicate the Method in other cities. It took UN-HABITAT about two years to develop this partnership.
Among the three cities, Weifang City in Shandong Province has been the first one to accept the offer. Accordingly, the City will bear the full cost of construction whereas UN-HABITAT will continue to provide technical assistance, supervision, and training on the Fukuoka Method. Since then three technical missions to Weifang have been undertaken by UN-HABITAT.
In order to assist UN-HABITAT in meeting its commitments to China, the partnership that was formed between UN-HABITAT and Fukuoka City in 1998 in the wake of a similar project in Tehran, was renewed with mutual consent. The Office also recruited three Volunteer-experts on waste management in December in order to assist it in the project. A Technical Working Group was formed comprising of experts from UN-HABITAT, Fukuoka City (Environmental Bureau), Fukuoka University, and the Volunteer-experts. The first meeting of the Group was held in October 2001, and since then it has been meeting on regular interval. A few selected members of the Group completed the design methodology for a new landfill in Weifang and a concept design. It was noteworthy that these members were able to spend considerable time for this voluntary work in spite of their regular duties. It is on the basis of such a design that Weifang City will prepare detailed design and implementation plan, thereby setting in motion the transfer of technology.
The construction of the demonstration project in Weifang will be completed this year. During the entire 2003, environmental and management data will be gathered in order to establish the efficacy of the Method in China. A national seminar on the Method will be organised once the project is fully completed.
This partnership between the UN-HABITAT
and Fukuoka City and Fukuoka University has enhanced the capacity
of the Office in delivering technical assistance to its client
countries. At the same time, this collaboration has also deepened
the internationalisation policy being pursued by Fukuoka City.