Country Profile: 

Population (thousand) (2015) 31,376.67
Multidimensional Poverty Index (2012) (1.0 equals Highest Poverty):  0.043
Inequality-adjusted Human Development Index, Country Rank (2014): 72
Gross Domestic Product per capita, at Purchasing Price Parity (2015) (US$): 12,402.4

Project period: 2013-2017

Main counterparts: Ministry of Environment (MINAM, Ministerio de Ambiente), Provincial Municipality of Arequipa (MPA, Municipalidad Provincial de Arequipa) and UNDP Peru.

Main objective: Elaboration of the National Act and regulations on solid waste, creation of Local Plans for the sustainable management of waste, valuation of this development sector drawing from the sustainable management of solid waste, associations and social protection.

Budget: USD 1,062,000 (USD 920,000 USD PEI; USD 142,000 UNV).






Taking into account the most disadvantaged part of the population with regards to access to healthcare, education and environmental quality, the Multidimensional Poverty Index reveals that Peru has the second highest multidimensional poverty rate among South American countries.

In 2013, 16.6% of the urban population and 53% of the rural population in Peru lived in poverty, while inequality in conditions of extreme poverty was even more persistent: 1.4% of urban extreme poverty versus 19.7% of rural extreme poverty (INEI Peru, 2013).

Peru, as a biodiversity super-Power, is particularly dependent on its ecosystem services, which increases the vulnerability of poor people, given the reduced capacity of ecosystems to mitigate and protect from natural disasters and to contribute to food security.

One of the greatest risks for ecosystems and human health in Peru is given by inadequate solid waste management. The per capita generation of waste at the local level in Peru has increased by 40% over the last 10 years, according to the National Environmental Action Plan 2010-2012. This is due to population growth, economic development, the changing of consumption habits, technological development and a raise in life standards among the population.

It is estimated that 16% of all waste generated in the country is not managed appropriately, as it ends up in the environment untreated, especially in rivers and coasts. Of all collected waste, only 31% is eliminated appropriately in sanitary landfills, 54% is sent to informal dumpsters, and 17.7% is recovered or recycled in a formal or informal way. During the collection stage, 7.4% is recycled, and it is estimated that 0.6% is recycled during final disposal in informal dumping sites, increasing the level of risk of the people engaged in these activities.

Although the National Programme of Waste Separation at the Source and Selective Collection of Peru is ambitious, the opportunities of value creation in recycling activities by facilitating the reuse of solid waste are not sufficiently exploited. It should be noted that the seizing of economic opportunities could generate several co-benefits in the solid waste sector. For instance, an easy and sustainable way to alleviate poverty would be to create jobs as recyclers, therefore increasing the income level of that sector of the population. In addition, municipalities could save in operative expenses of collection service, transport and final disposal of solid waste.

Working in the solid waste sector is often an adaptive answer to avoid extreme poverty and it is the only source of income and livelihoods for these particularly vulnerable populations. For this reason, an improved waste management system can have a positive impact on poverty alleviation, access to healthcare, and environmental quality.

According to data from the Waste Separation at the Source Programme in Arequipa, 82% of recyclers are women.

In December 2013, the Poverty-Environment Initiative officially launched the project “Integrated Management of Solid Waste for Sustainable and Inclusive Development in Peru”, inspired by the experience of Poverty-Environment Initiative Uruguay. Key poverty-environment linkages in Peru are associated with waste management (solid, liquid and chemical waste) attributed to the country’s high industrialization and urbanization rates. Informal waste collectors are a highly vulnerable segment of the population, thus a proper waste management system should help generate appropriate conditions to ensure long term sustainable development.

In Peru, Poverty-Environment Initiative supports the Ministry of the Environment (MINAM) in the generation of a sustainable management model that includes a gender perspective, enabling the production of social, environmental and economic benefits in the solid waste management sector with the incorporation of informal collectors (one of the country's most stigmatized and vulnerable occupations) into the formal system through source separation and recycling programmes (at household level, but also involving private companies and other public institutions).

 Main activities

  • Development of instruments and tools for the strengthening of the Ministry of the Environment (MINAM) in the integrated management of solid waste starting from the integration of social, environmental, poverty and gender variables.
  • Development of instruments and tools for the strengthening of the Provincial Municipality of Arequipa in the management of solid waste starting with the integration of social, poverty, gender and environmental variables.
  • Strengthen pro-poor recyclers associations and establish favorable conditions towards long term financial sustainability.
  • Mobilization of the Peruvian society through volunteering to change public attitude and behavior towards solid waste.
  • Project management and promotion of opportunities to replicate the systematized experience at municipalities at a local and national level with the scaling-up of methodologies.  


  • The project has supported the formulation of the new Solid Waste Management National Plan (PIGARS) and the elaboration of several studies in collaboration with other actors such as the Ministry of Labor (MINTRA, Ministerio de Trabajo) and the Ministry of Women and Vulnerable Populations (MIMP, Ministerio de la Mujer y las Poblaciones Vulnerables).

  • The project is developing and pilot-testing the model in Peru’s second largest city, Arequipa, supporting the municipality in the elaboration of public policy documents with the above mentioned approach (solid waste management plans at district and provincial level) and in working with recognized recyclers to generate a sustainable model that can be replicated in the rest of the municipalities and provinces of the country.

  • A revision of the National Waste Management Plan incorporates environmental criteria, indicators and a consistent monitoring system.

  • Several communication products have been produced and disseminated in order to raise awareness of the Arequipa´s municipality population and public institutions of the waste management treatment importance.
  • Updating of the Solid Waste National Plan (PLANRES) to include a gender approach and the mainstreaming of P-E variables.
  • In the area of solid waste, the creation of a National Investment Programme has been promoted with a budgetary impact on the National Budget.
  • The incorporation of articles into the new National Solid Waste Act has been stressed (pending approval).
  • The position of the solid waste sector was stressed as a priority sector in the MINTRA Strategy for the Generation of Green Jobs and in the Gender and Climate Change Action Plan.
  • In order to produce synergies and strengthen the capacity of recyclers, a linkage has been created between the Municipality of Arequipa (MPA) and other institutions of the state such as the Ministry of Development and Social Inclusion (MIDIS)-Qali Warma, the Ministry of Women and Vulnerable Populations (MIMP), the Ministry of Labor and Employment Promotion (MTPE), local institutions as Caja Arequipa and the various district municipalities and MPA departments.
  • Information has been collected for the optimization of 75 recycling routes often taken by recyclers, integrating several private and public institutions into the programme of separation at the source and selective collection.
  • Two Recyclers’ Associations have been formalized. In addition, recyclers have obtained social recognition by the population in public events.
  • A Manual on the Infrastructure for Solid Waste Reuse was developed.
  • A vaccination campaign for recyclers was successfully promoted, as a result, 45 recyclers were immunized for 10 years (69% women, 31% men).
  • Training modules were held in collaboration with the Ministry of Women and Vulnerable Populations (MIMP) for strengthening personal skills, benefitting 94 recyclers and some of their relatives.
  • The civil society was engaged by means of volunteering strategies with 58 volunteers, of whom 65% are women in the PEI project.
  • Tools were developed to strengthen the MPA for the implementation of business plans and the involvement of the private sector.
Mainstreaming Resources: