An End to Electronic Waste

UN Environment/International Telecommunication Union/UN Environment Management Group

session 174 organizer(s) logo

Session 174

13:30–15:00, Wednesday, 21 March 2018 Room 2, CICG Captioning High-Level Dialogue Speakers/Panellists  Link to WSIS Action Lines  Link to SDGs  Summary Document  Documents 

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Building the E-waste Coalition

This high-level dialogue organized during the World Summit on the Information Society, provides a step towards strengthened commitment and greater collaboration among the UN entities. It is a platform for the signing of a Letter of Intent by the Heads of participating UN entities, for the exchange of views on the current e-waste management challenge and on considering concrete actions for UN system-wide coordination and collaboration on tackling e-waste. The event provides an opportunity for the participants to express their organisations’ commitment to the e-waste challenge and a possible future E-waste Coalition, taking into account the work of the Issue Management Group, and its recommendations. 

The high-level dialogue will involve the signing of a Letter of Intent by the participating Heads of UN entities. It will be followed by a panel discussion among these Heads and representatives from the private sector, including ICT manufacturers and the recycling industry. The signing ceremony and panel discussion will be facilitated and moderated by a representative from outside the United Nations system.


Mr. James Pennington, Circular Economy, World Economic Forum


Mr. Houlin Zhao, Secretary-General, International Telecommunication Union

Mr. Nikhil Seth, Executive Director, United Nations Institute for Training and Research

Dr. Rolph Payet, Executive Secretary, Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions

Mr. Hiroshi Kuniyoshi, Managing Director and Deputy to the Director-General, Directorate of External Relations and Policy Research, United Nations Industrial Development Organization  

Mr. Elliott Harris, Assistant Secretary-General, UN Environment 

Ms. Alette van Leur, Director of the Sectoral Policies Department, International Labour Organization

Dr. MarÍa Mendiluce, Managing Director, World Business Council for Sustainable Development

(TBC) United Nations University 

Session's link to WSIS Action Lines

  • AL C7 e-Env logo C7. ICT Applications: E-environment

The transition towards a more digital world and a growing information society and economy offer unprecedented 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.

Used, broken, or obsolete equipment, such as phones, laptops, sensors, TVs, and fridges contain substances that pose considerable human health and environmental risks, especially if treated inadequately. Today, most e-waste is not properly documented and not treated through appropriate recycling chains and methods, whilst circular economy thinking has not been fully adopted. As a result, the amount of electronic waste, or e-waste, is growing rapidly and large dump sites exist throughout the world.

Session's link to Sustainable Development Process

  • Goal 3: Good health and well-being logo Goal 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all
  • Goal 8: Decent work and economic growth logo Goal 8: Promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work for all
  • Goal 11: Sustainable cities and communities logo Goal 11: Make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
  • Goal 12: Responsible consumption and production logo Goal 12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns

3.9 – by 2030 substantially reduce the number of deaths and illnesses from hazardous chemicals and air, water, and soil pollution and contamination.

8.3 – promote development-orientated policies that support productive activities, decent job creation, entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation, and encourage formalization and growth of micro-small and medium-sized enterprises including through access to financial services.

8.8 – protect labour rights and promote safe and secure working environments of all workers, including migrant workers, particularly women migrants, and those in precarious employment.

11.6 – by 2030, reduce the adverse per capita environmental impact of cities, including by paying special attention to air quality, municipal and other waste management.

12.4 – by 2020, achieve the environmentally sound management of chemicals and all wastes throughout their life cycle, in accordance with agreed international frameworks, and significantly reduce their release to air, water and soil in order to minimize their adverse impacts on human health and the environment.

12.5 – by 2030, substantially reduce waste generation through prevention, reduction, recycling, and reuse.