Can the Republic of Benin Achieve the SDGs Through Best Waste Management Practices?

SDGs and Waste Management in West Africa

Master's Thesis, 2017

105 Pages, Grade: A





Chapter one: Discourses of SWM in Benin (Literature and Methodology)
(1) Combined used of UPE and PEW
(2) Exploration of Beninese academia
(3) From institutions to populations

Chapter Two: Fake invisibility and imprints of busy-ness (Results)
(1) Fake invisibility of waste in the Republic of Benin
a. Localization
b. Dwelling on the past to apprehend the future (History)
c. Difficulties of the post-independence period
(2) Busy-ness: a threat to households solid waste management in the Republic of Benin
a. Rich legal framework on households solid waste management
2.a. Legal structure
2.b. National Level ( MAEC, MCVDD, ABE, DCS-ODD)

Chapter Three: Erasing busy-ness and achieving the SDGs through community-based practices (Final Analysis and discussion; the argument for cooperatives)
(1) Cooperatives approach for the erasure of busy-ness
a. Birth of the cooperative movement
b. Relevance of the cooperative initiative
(2) Organic solid waste management and SDGs achievement
a. Peri-urban green socioeconomic metabolism (SDGs 1, 2, 8 and 10)
b. Consumption treadmill (SDGs 11 and 12)
c. Climate (SDG 13)
d. Biodiversity (SDGs 14 and 15)

Chapter Four: Conclusion




God, and to all those battling relentlessly on the “dirty field” of Waste management in Benin Republic and in the World.

Can the Republic of Benin Achieve the SDGs Through Best Waste Management Practices?


This paper investigates the intrinsic link between the sustainable development goals (SDGs) and households’ solid waste management (HSWM) in the Republic of Benin, West Africa. It focuses explicitly on fermentable (organic) waste. Drawing on qualitative research, it argues that households’ waste management could be a driver in the achievement of the SDGs. It briefly examines the international context of waste policy establishment and the framework of internationally supported waste project in the Republic of Benin (RB or Benin) in order to demonstrate the importance of socio-cultural factors in the waste sector. Through the lenses of urban political ecology and political ecology of waste theories, it explains how the perception and the treatment of waste in pre-colonial Benin might have changed over time, compared to postcolonial Benin. Inspired by one of the main challenges of the 21st century, achieving a worldwide sustainable development, the paper suggests a different approach of perceiving and treating waste in general and organic waste in particular. It argues that a community-based approach based on cooperatives could be the answer to the waste issue, but could also provide a canvas for the successful and inclusive achievement of the SDGs in Benin.


Since 1992, the debate around sustainability has known a positive evolution.

“Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. It contains within it two key concepts:

- the concept of 'needs', in particular the essential needs of the world's poor, to which overriding priority should be given; and
- the idea of limitations imposed by the state of technology and social organization on the environment's ability to meet present and future needs.”[1]

In fact, in September 2015, the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit[2] adopted new development objectives, replacing the “old” millennium development goals. The world welcomed the adoption of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and their 169 targets[3] with enthusiasm[4], since they were more inclusive and characterized by a bottom-up process[5].

“These new SDGs are seen as “a golden bullet” for every country, developing and more vulnerable in particular. The flexible application of these goals makes it possible for countries to focus on what is more relevant depending on their priorities.”[6]

This paper goes with the observation that the new SDGs seem to overlook what Duquennoi, 2015[7] described as the “hidden face of our world”: waste. The goals 11 and 12, respectively in their targets 6 and 5 demonstrate the importance of waste production and consumption patterns in the chain of sustainability. In fact the goal 11 aspires to “make cities and human settlements more inclusive, safe resilient and sustainable” (SDG11), while its target 11.6 aims to “reduce the adverse per capita environmental impacts of cities, by paying special attention to air quality and municipal and other waste management” by 2030. The following goal supporting waste management is to “ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns” (SDG12) by substantially reducing by 2030 “waste generation through prevention, reduction, recycling and reuse” (12.5). What this means for developing countries like Benin is the motive of this research.

“World waste fact” estimates that the world dumps more than 2 billion tons of waste annually[8], while Sub-Saharan Africa is approximately producing about 62 million tons of waste per year[9]. Unfortunately, no African Countries figure among the best waste handling countries of the world[10]. Waste Generation in the Republic of Benin varies depending on the urban area concerned. In municipalities like Abomey-Calavi, the average is around 0.46 to 0.50 kg per person per day (AVOD 2005; Kplé 2015:13) and its ill management could have consequences (Hoornweg and Bhada-Tata 2015: foreword)[11]. Compared to the developed world, the quantity of waste produced in the municipality is relatively small, but still appears as troublesome, because of the high likelihood of its insufficient management in this peri-urban area.

Besides, this paper focuses especially on households’ solid waste management (HSWM), because it is one of the easily accessible type of waste in the Republic of Benin and is essentially organic (Hoornweg and Bhada-Tata 2015:16; Kaza, Yao and Stowell 2016:6; Rouyat, Broutin, Rachmul, Gueye, Torassani and Ka n.d. :27). This means that organic recycling could be easier and faster than the recycling of other types of waste. The fast relatability of household’s solid waste (HSW) to people and its presence nearly everywhere, also make it a better choice. It could provide an adequate framework favoring the evolvement of recycling-related discussions and practices within the society; the goal would be to establish gradually a more complex recycling system, starting with organic waste.

The state of solid waste management (SWM) in the municipality of Abomey-Calavi, along with its peri-urban/rural nature and the availability of space justify the choice of this municipality. Waste management services collect less than 50 percent of the waste produced (Alassani, 2007:4)[12] in Abomey-Calavi. Further, the municipality is located near Cotonou (the economic capital), and constitute a “dormitory town” for many workers. It has a population growth of 9.43 percent (Kakai H.F., Kakai A.G. and Tohouégnon A.G. 2010; INSAE, 2015:8) between 1992 and 2002[13], and a surface of 539 km2 (Kplé, 2015:21) that could be used valuably.

The analysis of the waste problem in the municipality is conducted based on lenses of urban political ecology (UPE) and of political ecology of waste (PEW) theories. Considering many countries’ aspiration — especially developing ones — to reach a level of development similar to most western developed nations, one could perceive the existence of a western “modern social imaginary” (Taylor, 2004) within the studied country. The result of this imaginary is the creation of a “metabolism” (Marx in Ranganathan 2017a), already combining the principles of modernity and capitalism and overlooking the anthropological-historical perception and treatment of waste. This paper also approach waste through the lens of “fake invisibility”, partly based on Gille, 2007 work on the issue.

Further, the actual treatment of waste in Benin and specifically in the municipality of Abomey-Calavi supports MacBride 2012 concept of “busy-ness”, since the situation is still dire. It is by drawing on these concepts, on the possible creation of a more inclusive metabolic system, and on the hope that this approach to waste management — (Fruitema, 2015) — could effectively accelerate the achievement of the SDGs, that this paper is suggesting an additional strategy to the existing one (Onibokun, 1999:5).

Chapter one: Discourses of SWM in Benin (Literature and Methodology)

(1) Combined used of UPE and PEW

The investigation of HSWM in the municipality of Abomey-Calavi requires that one understand the UPE and PEW concepts used in throughout this work.

The concept of ‘western modern social imaginary” is drawn from Taylor’s 2004 presentation of Modern Social Imageries. He first defines the concept of modernity as a set of historical practices and institutional models of new living behaviors and of new types of consequences (Taylor, 2004: Introduction). He then presents the concept of modernity from the western perspective by highlighting the existence of public sphere, of self-governance and more importantly of market economy, which is particularly based on a linear way of production in most cases. The concept of social imaginary refers to the ways people imagine their social surroundings and social reality in a disengaged way (Taylor, 2004:23). Because people’s active engagement as well as people’s engagement within their social system is important to have an impact, whether it is economic or environmental — in a social imaginary —, in the context of this paper, social imaginary is excluding the disengagement expressed by people within a society. Thus, in this case, western modern social imaginary refers to the ways people imagine or want their surroundings to resemble those of a modern western society fueled by the market economy.

Since the western modern social imaginary is fueled by the market economy and is therefore constrained to the use of resources and the production of waste, aspiring to its creation would mean aspiring to the production of waste (Chenal, 2014:14), or even trash — “Trash signifies a being wholly denuded of nature” and “contradicts our (human) role as stewards and preservers”. It is perceived to be modern, and in contrast with the notion of waste, because the occurrence of trash justifies the failure of the human consumption system to make use of resources. Simply put, trash is “waste” gone to waste — (Greg, 2007: xix, 91). More specifically, it would lead to the creation of an unequal and unsustainable place where the unequal use of resources is detrimental to people, but also to sustainability (Marx in Ranganathan, 2017a). Taking into account Benin’s historical records, the aspiration to western modern social imaginary appeared during a colonial and postcolonial context. It progressively downgraded the preexisting epistemic socio-economic knowledge along with the anthropological-historical perception and treatment of waste. In fact, the change in perception and treatment went concomitantly with the nature of the waste produced — very diverse — affecting the way people handled waste.

Moreover, since it is possible to perform a historical examination of the SWM issue one could also refer to the concept of invisibility of waste (Gille, 2007: 17). Originally, it characterizes the unavailability of statistics and data on waste management in general. In the case of this paper, this concept is relevant; however, the existence of historical practices of solid waste management, despite the absence of data, pushes for a characterization of this invisibility as a “fake” invisibility. Although there is a lack of statistical information, it is possible to find effective waste management practices of the past that are seemingly still in use and in need of more elaborated actions. The state of SWM in Benin justifies the use of “busy-ness” (MacBride, 2012:6) for this paper. MacBride defines busy-ness as “fulfilling sense of work and achievement that often brings positive side effects, but fails to reach the central effect”. The author used this term to describe the intense activity prevailing in the field of solid waste management, which fails to solve or decrease the solid waste issue but instead stay frozen in a state of inertia.

(2) Exploration of Beninese academia

Characterizing and defining “waste” can be complex and subjective (Williams, 2005: chap two, waste)[14]. According to the framework-law on environment in the Republic of Benin, waste is “any residue, from a production, transformation or utilization process, or any movable assets, which is abandoned or intended to be dumped”[15]. The large variety of elements that could be included in this definition recalls the fact that waste is very “entrenched in the fabric of our mode of production, consumption, and accumulation” (de Kadt 1999:133). The law fails to present any specific classification of waste, but the decree 2003-332[16] fills this shortfall. In its second article, the decree explains what waste, households’ wastes, precollection[17], collection, landfill, recovering, and recycling (among others) is. Its fourth article provides more insight into the classification of waste and retains three types: industrial wastes, medical wastes and households’ wastes.

The focus of this paper on households’ wastes, specially organic waste is justified by the fact that waste production is rooted in the socioeconomic production system and is an old phenomenon (Greg, 2007: xviii; de Kadt, 1999: 133; Beatley 2000:3), making it easily accessible. In fact, Marx in Gille 2007 actually approaches the waste issue as a normal part of the production chain and not as an abnormality. This view is almost similar to Duquennoi 2015 since, both seem to argue that waste generation is the product of any type of activity. With Bjerkli 2015:19, they highlight the production of waste, as being an intrinsic part of “capitalistic forces in society” and even creating inequity within urban (Engels 1971 in Kaika and Swyngedouw 2014) — and peri-urban — areas. Citizen can also relate to waste, but more importantly, HSW could serve as potential introductive step to recycling and waste valorization. Since waste is a byproduct of the socioeconomic system, population growth[18] would likely lead to an increase in waste production (Giannelli, 2016; Rouyat et al. 2017; Nyassogbo 2005; Hoornweg and Bhada-Tata 2012:9; Kaza et al. 2016:17). Finally, waste generation has always existed within and outside the human realm (Duquennoi 2015) and is thus unavoidable.

Some scholars, who perceive in waste an abnormal issue, which rises in the absence of a well-functioning SWM system, somehow contradict the normality in waste production. For example, Nyassogbo 2005 blames urban population growth, the extension of urban superficies, and an uncontrolled urbanization as sources of waste management issues. He also mentions the difficulties encountered by local administrations and makes a distinction between popular and “modern” means of waste management (Nyassogbo, 2005: 9, 10; Kplé, 2015: 14-19). His argument about waste generation fails to mention the systemic nature of waste and its embedded nature into every productive relationship. He also overlooks the sociocultural layer of the issue and barely mentions any historical and socioeconomic roots of the waste issue. It could appear as if waste was always invisible in practices and that there is no original foundation; data might be scarce, but practices and knowledge are always present.

Apart from blaming the lack of citizens’ sensitization (Toussaint, 2000 in Alassani, 2007) or estimating that neighborhoods’ standing is an important variable in HSWM (Sissinto 2005 in Alassani 2007), one could also raise the achievements that occurred in the field over the last decades (Blalogoe 2004). Blalogoe 2004 thinks that SWM in the municipality of Cotonou has improved considering the changes observed from 1960 to 2001. He claims that waste management is well conceptualized and that it contributed to the creation of many jobs. He does raise the existence of some technical flaws such as the lack of subscription[19], of waste transfer points and of communication between various waste actors. Even though Cotonou is not this paper’s focus, Blalogoe’s study of Cotonou, — the economic capital — provides a historical observation of the changes that occurred in the SWM system. The author seems to develop an antithesis to the “busy-ness” concept; however, it might be more complex. Despite the positive change and the positive outcome of the SWM system in the economic capital, the central goal of satisfying the population and providing a safe environment is still a topical issue.

Eyebiyi 2010 supports the improvement noticed by Blalogoe 2004. He observed that some of the studies conducted on waste were mostly orientated toward urban centers and southern cities, and decided therefore to focus on Natitingou and Porto-Novo. Through a qualitative approach, he delves into the social phenomenon sustaining the sector of waste management, and the decentralization rules shaping the sector. It is actually this decentralization approach (Article 93, Law 97-029)[20], which has been effective since the 1990s (Eyebiyi, 2010:89). The authors here did not clearly state why he choose these two cities for his research, and his investigation also seem not orientated toward these places as Urban centers. However, his analysis contains a sociocultural investigation of the perception and the treatment of waste.

Since waste management is an important sector and seeing that there have been laws and decrees[21] on the issues for the last decades — starting in the 1980s-1990s —, the fact that HSWM still deserves attention and research could be unexpected. Even if Blalogoe 2004 reports improvements in the field, one could still fear that these improvements are spotted by busy-ness’ (MacBride, 2012:5) influences, especially in the municipality of Abomey-Calavi, decreasing the positive impact that the conceptualization of the sector could have had. For example, the number of NGOs active in the sector of SWM has increased over the last years, providing “Cotonois”[22] with more NGOs membership opportunities. However, the recent investigation conducted for this research proved that the municipality of Cotonou still faces serious waste disposal issues. The city’s leadership has been active, but the central goal of providing a clean and safe environment remains.

Other authors have a more technical approach to the waste issue (Kplé, 2015), exploring pyrolysis and combustion as waste valorization methods. Considering the progressive approach that this paper envisions, the results of the technical approaches could appear as the last step in the waste valorization chain. Despite the information that were provided by these research, it is difficult to clearly know of effective waste management practices existing before the 1960s, since Blalogoe already mentioned the 60s as baseline to estimate the progress that has been made in the field over the previous decades.

One could blame the invisibility of waste and waste-related information and the lack of research on the socio-cultural and anthropological lenses of waste management systems in Benin. In spite of this “invisibility”, there are historical records related to waste management in the country (Dresch, 1952; Juhé-Beaulaton, 2010; Juhé-Beaulaton N.A.). It is because of the sober existence of historical practices, that this paper evokes the notion of “fake invisibility”. These records have proved that there used to be a system of management whose importance decreased over time thanks to the economic metabolism legacy of colonization and the aspiration of the country to replicated western developed societies. This point raises the importance of considering the western social imaginary discourse that slowly conquers the developing world, sometimes at the expenses of existing environmental practices (Fruitema, 2015:18; Eyebiyi, 2010:61).

Overall, in spite of the wealth of information available, and the work done by these authors on the topic to directly, or indirectly achieve sustainable development, none of the work examined has considered the implementation context or the international elaboration of waste management policies. For example, the implementation of international waste management policies and regulations would require different strategies depending on the country and on the society. Eyebiyi, 2010 demonstrates waste perception within two distinct sociocultural groups in Benin. He demonstrates that a group of people living in the same country can have different approach to the same issue, due to their cultural differences. This illustrates the complex nature of the context where international legislation and policies are implemented (Natasha Cornea. Rene Veron and Anna Zimmer. 2017: 730)[23]. Further, interviewing an international officer involved in waste management projects in Africa and in other developing countries unveiled the process of policies implementation in countries like the RB. Although international organizations now conduct the technical and scientific analysis of the targeted area — in the past, these organizations used to conduct their fieldwork basing themselves on estimates without actually conducting any fieldwork or investigation. The culture within the international organization has been changing recently due to critics — taking sociocultural realities seems lacking. This interview also demonstrates that elaborating international policies can be challenging. One of the critics targeting the previous Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) was their lack of inclusivity. For the SDGs there have been attempts to solve this issue before their adoption.

Focusing especially on the solid waste component of the SDGs, it might be inaccurate and narrow to consider the waste debate within the exclusive frame of SDGs. As mentioned by another international official, most African Countries tend to look to Northern countries when establishing their waste management legal infrastructure. While the goal at the time — after the 1960s — implied the achievement of a sustainable environment, the goal of achieving a sustainable environment will become explicit with the vague of environmental awareness and environmental action[24]. It seems to have been through the application and idealization of the western modern social imaginary that Northern developed countries models inspired many countries around the world. This implies that countries such as the RB and other African countries, frequently copy environmental regulations on HSWM on Northern developed countries, or on other advanced developing countries[25]. The consequence of this is the absence of existing environmental practices in the field of waste management from waste policies and projects in the RB and to a smaller extent in Abomey-Calavi, alluding to invisibility, or rather to a fake invisibility of waste. That is to say that, the existence of environmentally sound SWM behaviors could have informed initiatives in the concerned sector and served as tangible references. Moreover, it challenges the idea of the invisibility of waste despite the lack of statistical data.

(3) From institutions to populations

The research methodology used in this paper is threefold. It consists first of key informants interviews conducted within international institutions. Then I carried out about three weeks of research in the Republic of Benin within public and nongovernmental administrations. Finally, I proceeded to an investigation of the population of the studied area. Ideally, the methodology would have followed the order previously mentioned, but due to unplanned circumstances, investigating international institutions came in last place, but at least started theoretically. In other words, the research targeted existing academia research on the issue at first, before examining human interactions in Benin.

The methodology started then with three weeks of fieldwork in the Republic of Benin, during which key informants interviews, semi-conducted interviews, households’ surveys and interviews, and neighborhood observations were undertaken. The research was carried out in June 2017, during the rainy season, focusing specifically on the Grand Nokoué (Big Nokoué) — Cotonou, Abomey-Calavi, Ouidah, Sèmè-Kpodji, Porto-Novo —. The main area of investigation is the municipality of Abomey-Calavi., which has nine arrondissements/districts: Akassato, Godomey, Zinvié, Hêvié, Kpanroun, Ouèdo, Togba, and Abomey-Calavi (the main central district) — there is a distinction between the municipality of Abomey-Calavi and the district of Abomey-Calavi. The former is much larger than the latter —. It also has a set of 70 villages and city districts. Within the district of Abomey-Calavi, the study focuses on the city districts of Agori, Agori Plateau, Finanfa, and Aïtchedji (apparently all part of Agori) for few reasons.

The state of solid waste management in the municipality of Abomey-Calavi, its peri-urban/rural nature and the availability of space justify the choice of this municipality. SWM also constitute a problem for the municipality and for its districts. Less than 50 percent of the waste produced is likely to be collected (Alassani, 2007:4)[26]. Further, the municipality is located near Cotonou (the economic capital), and constitute a “dormitory town” for many workers. It has a population growth of 9.43 percent (Kakai H.F., Kakai A.G. and Tohouégnon A.G. 2010) and a surface of 539 km2 (Kplé, 2015:21) that represents an important resource. Further, obtaining a perfect physical map of the different districts turns out to be nearly impossible. Thus, it is very frequent to encounter citizen who were doubtful about the name of their districts, or neighbors who could provide or make use of two different city districts’ names. As an illustration, three of the interviewed households located within one mile from each other, provided three different city districts names. The main final objective of this paper is to come up with a community-based solution, applicable in a specific local area, before the consideration of scalability possibilities to the other parts of the municipality. The barriers between districts are not physically sharp and could facilitate collective actions helping to achieve the SDGs if properly harnessed.

In Abomey-Calavi, the investigation targeted the town hall of Abomey-Calavi, specifically its Technical Direction, and the Collective of NGOs involved in waste management in the municipality (COSGAC: Collectif des SNG de Gestion des Ordures et d’Assainissement de la Commune d’ Abomey-Calavi), institutions wise. Neighborhood’s observation on the other hand, involved the completion of some interviews and surveys in the district of Abomey-Calavi particularly on weekends and holidays during daytime, depending on the weather. Parents, young adults, university students, retirees constituted the targeted population. Overall, the research covered about 20 households and administrative officials in the municipality through interviews and each interview lasted about 25 minutes.

The original plan was to target two groups of family houses. A first group of houses identifiable with small plywood signs, representing their subscription to a waste collection service, and a second group of houses not being part of any waste collection plans, thus without plywood signs. A first observation of Agori district proved that the initial approach could barely stand the first “plywood” hypothesis. Out of the two hundred households observed, only seven had plywood signs. Interviews revealed that the absence of plywood was not delineative of households’ subscription rate. Consequently, instead of making plywood-based decisions, the investigation proceeded through random household choices, attempting to interact with people interested in answering the interview questions. Despite the will to talk to a very diverse pool of people, the investigated population was mostly male for unsure reasons.

One should also mention that most of the main actors involved in waste management policies or waste work are located in Cotonou, about 16 miles from Abomey-Calavi. This applies to The Ministry of Environment (Ministère du Cadre de Vie et du Développement Durable : Ministry of Living Conditions and Sustainable Development), The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation), The Beninese Agency of Environmental Protection (Agence Béninoise pour l’Environnement), The Technical Direction of Cotonou town hall, (Direction Technique de la Mairie de Cotonou), The SERHAU[27], an Environmental Analysis Firm, the PUGEMU (Programme d’Urgence de Gestion des Milieux Urbains or Emergency Program of Urban Areas Management), and The Office of Sustainable Development under the Ministry of Planning (Direction des Objectifs de Développement Durable du Ministère du Plan).

I also had the opportunity to meet a representative of the Union of NGOs involved in SWM in the Grand Nokoué (UCN)[28], who was also a member and the president of the COGEDA (Coordination des ONG de Gestion des Déchets Solides Ménagers et de l'Assainissement à Cotonou) acting in Cotonou. Overall, 30 people involved at some point in implementing waste management policies and projects under the authority of the public administration, the local administration or through a cooperation between international institutions and groups of NGOs, were investigated.

Thanks to some of the previous work done in the field in the districts of Abomey-Calavi by (Alassani 2007) this paper does not assess the standing of the neighborhood assessed. The standing and economic variable is not very relevant, since Abomey-Calavi is a very economically diverse district. Moreover, a small number of people subscribing to waste collect services are not enough to offset the large number of people lacking without access to these services. In addition, because of the proximity of Cotonou and of the fact that the city is ahead in waste management policies and projects, some aspects of this research appear as parallel to previous work. Thus, some questions and observations might be missing.

Chapter Two: Fake invisibility and imprints of busy-ness (Results)

(1) Fake invisibility of waste in the Republic of Benin

a. Localization

Map of Benin

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Located in West Africa with an area of 112 622 km2, the Republic of Benin has a population of 10 008 749 (RGPH4, 2013)[29]. It is boarded by Togo to the West, Nigeria to the East, Burkina-Faso and Niger to the North and the Atlantic Ocean to the South and totals 12 departments and 77 municipalities (Awohouedji, 2016:2). The country has two sets of climate: a humid equatorial in the Southern part and a tropical climate from the center to the North.[30] The temperatures in the Republic of Benin vary within the range of 89F to 73F on average (Awohouedji, 2016:2).

Of the 12[31] departments (Law 97-028, Art. 6) and 77 municipalities[32] of the RB, the scope of this research is primarily Atlantic department and Littoral department to a resourceful extent. The Atlantic department counts the municipalities of Abomey-Calavi, Allada, Kpomassè, Ouidah, Sô-Ava, Toffo, Tori and Zè.[33] The Littoral department is only made of the municipality the city of Cotonou, which is also the economic capital of the country. Most economic activities and most of the main public administrations are located in that city.[34]

Map of Benin and its departments (Atlantic Department is the yellow quadrilateral on the coast).

illustration not visible in this excerpt

With a population growth of 9, 43% (Kakai H.F., Kakai A.G. & Tohouégnon A.G. 2010)[35], the municipality of Abomey-Calavi is located within the periphery of Cotonou and has a surface of 539 km2[36].


[1] Report of the World commission on environment and development. 1992. Our Common Future. Chapter 2: Towards Sustainable Development. Page: 41. Assessed: June 2017

[2] UNSDS (United Nations Sustainable Development Summit). 25-27 September 2015 in New York. Assessed : June 2017.

[3] SDGs: why 17 goals and 169 targets might not be such a bad thing. Andrew Norton and Elizabeth Stuart (26th, November 2014). Assessed June 2017.

[4] Building effective bottom-up partnership for SDGs: a discussion note by Vaagdhara, India. Assessed June 2017.

[5] One of the main weaknesses of the MDGs compared to the SDGs is that there was a lack of consultation at the MDGs conception level. In addition, more middle-income countries and developing countries interests were not included. See UN System Task Team on the post-2015 UN Development Agenda: Review of the contributions of the MDG Agenda to foster development: lessons for the post-2015 UN Development Agenda 16 March 2012. Assessed: Moreover, interview notes. See also: Mark Tran, 2012. Mark Malloch-Brown: developing the MDGs was a bit like nuclear fusion. Assessed:

[6] Interview notes.

[7] Duquennoi, 2015. Les déchets : du big bang à nos jours. Editions Quae. Carnets de sciences.

[8] World waste facts. Assessed June 2017.

[9] World Bank. N.A. Waste generation : Urban development series – knowledge papers. Chapter 3. Assessed June 2017.


[11] Daniel Hoornweg and Perinaz Bhada-Tata. March 2012, No. 15. What a waste: a global review of solid waste management. world bank report. Urban development series knowledge papers. Urban development and local development.

[12] Yves Modeste Alassani. 2007. La gestion des ordures ménagères dans la ville d’Abomey-Calavi : Problèmes et perspectives. Université d’Abomey-Calavi au Benin. Diplôme d’études supérieures de spécialités (DESS) en population et dynamiques urbaines. Assessed on June 28, 2017.

[13] Within a ten years period (2002-2013), the population of Abomey-Calavi doubled with a 6.7 percent intercensal growth rate and a general population growth rate of 9.43 percent covering the 1992-2002 period.

[14] doi: 10.1002/0470012668.ch2

[15] Article 66: Framework Law 98-030, on environment in the Republic of Benin.

[16] Decree 2003-332 of August 27th, 2003 on solid waste management in the Republic of Benin

[17] Ibid, Art. 2: Precollection: All activities involving waste picking from their source of production (in this case households) and their transferring to transfer stations.

[18] Steady increase in Beninese population. See “Taux d’accroissement de la population” or ‘’Population growth rate”

[19] In order to benefit from waste collection services, citizen should pay a unique membership fee and monthly fees that varies depending on the NGO or the neighborhood standards.

[20] Law 97-029 of January 15th, 1999 on municipalities’ organization in the Republic of Benin

[21] This set of laws take into account the Constitution of the Republic of Benin (December, 11th, 1990), the Framework-Law 98-030 on the environment (February 12th, 1999), the n° 87-15 on public hygiene (September 21st, 1987), the Law 097-029 on municipalities organization (January 15th, 1999), and the decree 2003-332 on solid waste management (August 27th, 2003).

[22] Cotonou citizen

[23] Natasha Cornea. Rene Veron and Anna Zimmer. 2017. Clean city politics: An urban political ecology of solid waste in West Bengal, India. DOI: 10.1177/0308518X16682028.

[24] The period 1970 – 1992 was the time per excellency

[25] See for example the definition of waste present in the Beninese framework law is inspired from the French framework law of July 15, 1975 (Eyebiyi, 2010:59).

[26] Yves Modeste Alassani. 2007. La gestion des ordures ménagères dans la ville d’Abomey-Calavi : Problèmes et perspectives. Université d’Abomey-Calavi au Benin. Diplôme d’études supérieures de spécialités (DESS) en population et dynamiques urbaines. Assessed on June 28, 2017.

[27] As originally a private institution, it became a mixed institution in 1993, benefiting from the support of the government and from the WBG. Also see:

[28] Union des volontaires des Collectifs du grand Nokoué (UCN)

[29] See “Résultats définitifs” in

[30] See “Le climat” in

[31] This number might have changed due to some recent political decision, but the official documents that we found still conserve the number 12 as official number of department in the RB.

[32] A very brief list of the departments can be found at :

[33] Article 7, Law 97-028, January 15th, 1999

[34] This justifies the reason why I also conducted the investigation in Cotonou.

[35] Kakai H.F., Kakai A.G. & Tohouégnon A.G. 2010 – Agriculture urbaine et valorisation des déchets au Bénin  : une approche de développement durable. VertigO - la revue électronique en sciences de l’environnement, 2 septembre 2010, 10 (2). En ligne :


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Can the Republic of Benin Achieve the SDGs Through Best Waste Management Practices?
SDGs and Waste Management in West Africa
The American University, Washington, DC  (School of International Service)
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ISBN (eBook)
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Benin, Republic of Benin, West Africa, Waste Management, Urban Political Ecology, Anthropology, Sustainable development goals, Environmental history, community-based practices, cooperatives, households' solid waste management
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Emmanuel Awohouedji (Author), 2017, Can the Republic of Benin Achieve the SDGs Through Best Waste Management Practices?, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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