Implementa Sur

The Recycle Organics Program and the LEDS LAC Regional Platform Launch the Community of Practice on the Reduction of Methane Emissions from Organic Waste in Latin America and Caribbean

The Community of Practice will support 10 LAC countries in mitigating their methane emissions from the waste sector.

Sofía Burford

Líder de consultoría

LEDS LAC, CCAP, ImplementaSur and the Global Methane Hub have partnered to develop a Community of Practice on the reduction of methane emissions from organic waste (CoP Met-LAC) that will support 10 countries in the Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) region in contributing to the Global Methane Pledge of reducing methane emissions by 30% by 2030. The CoP Met-LAC will facilitate peer-to-peer learning, providing technical support and fostering knowledge exchange among relevant waste sector actors within the LAC region. The CoP is part of the Recycle Organics framework and will include Argentina, Barbados, Belize, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Grenada, Honduras, México and Perú.

“This new initiative embodies one of the fundamental goals and aspirations of the Recycle Organics program,” said CCAP Methane Mitigation Program Manager Brooks Shaffer. “Facilitating the exchange of knowledge on win-win opportunities to address the prevalent organic fraction of waste, learning and sharing with other waste professionals across public and private sectors and developing a community of practice in the region that equips countries to replicate innovative and regionally-appropriate waste management policies and projects is key to the success of the program and will lead to accelerated on-the-ground actions that will have a real impact on cutting methane emissions in the waste sector.”

The CoP aims to raise awareness about the significant opportunities that exist to reduce methane emissions and make use of the waste countries produce, while supporting the development of enabling conditions so that sustainable projects can be implemented quickly and effectively. The objective of the CoP is to promote and accelerate public policies, business models and investment projects that contribute to the mitigation of harmful waste sector emissions and other sustainable development goals, through actions such as composting, anaerobic digestion, food waste reduction and landfill gas capture. Accelerating these waste management projects inherently improves the local environment, creates green jobs and moves countries closer toward a sustainable and circular economy.

Composting facilities turn methane-producing organic waste into compost which can be sold and used in gardens, landscaping, horticulture and agriculture, often replacing synthetic fertilizers. Additionally, harmful greenhouse gases produced by organic waste can be captured and converted into biogas, which is a source of renewable energy that can support local economies and help countries phase out fossil fuels. The recovery and redistribution of food waste not only helps divert organic waste from landfills but also allows for the efficient utilization of surplus food, reducing food insecurity while cutting methane emissions.  

“Seeking to enhance south to south knowledge exchange and strengthen capacities, we believe this Community of Practice will empower its participants to learn from experiences already happening around Latin America and the Caribbean to develop or scale-up their own initiatives and effectively reduce methane emissions,” said ImplementaSur Director Gerardo Canales. “In a global context where rapid cuts in methane emissions are crucial to achieving climate targets, collaborative efforts among countries in the global south, such as CoP Met-LAC that promote the development of public policies, business models and investment projects to reduce methane emissions from organic sources, are not only necessary but imperative.”

CoP members will include key policymakers from national and municipal governments, along with international and regional associations representing key sector stakeholders. CoP representatives will participate in a series of activities over the course of two years, aimed at knowledge exchange and capacity building. Activities will include:

  • In-person workshops,
  • Bi-monthly virtual knowledge sharing sessions,
  • Online training sessions,
  • A fast-track technical assistance helpline for specific inquiries, and
  • Tailored technical assistance to advance initiatives and projects.

The CoP will also systematize and disseminate success stories, good practices and tools through knowledge products and webinars aimed at a larger audience of key stakeholders. In the long run, the program aims to accelerate participating countries’ progress towards achieving a circular and carbon-neutral waste sector, while building a stronger community of decision-makers in Latin America and the Caribbean that can implement transformational and inclusive organic waste projects in the region, contributing to their achievement of the Global Methane Pledge.

Overall, the CoP Met-LAC seeks to drive positive change in the region by promoting cooperation, sharing best practices, lessons learned and innovative approaches to accelerate action to address methane emissions from organic waste management, thereby contributing to sustainable development and a greener future for Latin America and the Caribbean.

“For the LEDS LAC Platform, this is an opportunity to continue fulfilling our mission to promote and support system transformations that are key to achieving the region´s climate goals and advancing in a low emission, climate resilient development path,” said Technical Coordinator for LEDS LAC Secretariat Virginia Vilariño. “Contributing to reducing methane emissions is one of the thematic priorities in our strategic planning, and we are happy to partner with CCAP and ImplementaSur to build on their experience and expertise to facilitate learning across countries, organizations and individuals to accelerate those transformations.”

The CoP´s kick-off workshop will be held in Bogota, Colombia, this November. Stay tuned for more updates on this program, including the official launch of the CoP webpage.

Why methane?

Methane is a potent greenhouse gas that has global warming potential 86-times greater than carbon dioxide over a 20-year period.  According to the Global Methane Assessment (2021), reducing human-caused methane emissions is one of the most cost-effective strategies to rapidly reduce the rate of warming and substantially contribute to global efforts in keeping the world below 1.5°C.

Furthermore, methane is among the most dangerous Short-Lived Climate Pollutants (SLCPs) and is responsible for 40 percent of the Earth’s warming since the Industrial Revolution—18% of human-made methane emissions come from waste.

Waste generation per capita will keep increasing around the world with population and rapid urbanization. As the organic fraction of waste—such as food residues, yard trimmings, paper or wood—decomposes in landfills or dumpsites, it generates large amounts of emissions that lower air quality and heavily contribute to the warming of our planet.

According to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), organic waste represents, on average, 50% of the waste stream in Latin American countries. The lack of specific treatment options and recovery measures is causing consequential issues at final disposal sites, including significant methane emissions, leachate polluting subsoils and the spread of diseases by pests.

In the LAC region, there are local and regional initiatives focusing on recycling, anaerobic digestion, composting and other technologies that are relevant for cutting methane emissions, but those efforts are often disparate and not linked to national climate and development goals.

More on the Recycle Organics Program

The underling goal of the Recycle Organics program is to help the countries it supports achieve the Global Methane Pledge of reducing their methane emissions by 30% by 2030, while bringing significant environmental, economic and social benefits to local communities. The Program focuses on policy and projects, helping to create enabling conditions for a sustainable expansion of organic waste treatment technologies and develops a community of practice within the regions it supports.

Recycle Organics has a particular focus on working with developing countries and Small Island Developing States (SIDS), which have historically contributed the least to climate change but are typically hit the hardest by its cascading effects. Many of these countries are especially vulnerable to extreme heat, intensified storms and flooding because of the warming planet, making the goals of the Paris Agreement to keep warming below 1.5°C evermore critical.

In total, the Recycle Organics Program currently supports 19 countries and is also funded by Environment and Climate Change Canada, the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC), the Global Methane Hub and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), through different initiatives and projects.

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