A high-level dialogue dedicated to promoting the inclusion of migrant informal waste workers in sustainable urban development has ended in Accra.
Organized by the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) in collaboration with the Mayors Migration Council, the dialogue brought together a diverse array of participants, including policymakers, city officials, and stakeholders to identify the gaps in current policies and practices related to the inclusion of informal waste workers, placing a special focus on migrants within this sector, as well as pressing issues affecting them in urban areas, with a particular emphasis on health and financial well-being.
The event also underscored the importance of forging partnerships between cities and relevant stakeholders as a linchpin for enhancing the quality of life for migrant informal waste workers.
Chief Executive Officer of the AMA, Hon. Elizabeth Kwatsoe Sackey in an address said that although migrants working in the informal waste sector, in the city, were unsung heroes in the city's waste management chain their struggles persist in the face of low-income, sub-standard working conditions, and limited access to essential services hence the need for their inclusivity.
"These workers actively contribute to the reduction of environmental pollution, playing a pivotal role in urban sustainability by recycling and diverting waste from landfills, " she said.
She pointed out that promoting their inclusiveness aligns with the principles of social justice and human rights, and could have a direct impact on the local economies.
"By increasing their productivity and income, we can reduce the burden on social welfare programs and foster a more robust and self-sustaining community, " she said.
She was hopeful the dialogue would help create a "tangible policy document or action plan for the inclusiveness of migrant informal waste workers."
She said the goal of the Assembly was to develop inclusive policies that not only acknowledge the contributions of these workers but also address the unique challenges they face.
Samer Saliba, Director of City Practice of the Mayors Migration Council and the Manager of the Global Cities Fund for Migrants and Refugees in a remark said Accra was selected to implement the Inclusive Climate Action program because its project clearly viewed migrants as an opportunity, not a burden and put forward a compelling, multi-faceted project proposal to back this up.
He congratulated the City of Accra, and the Mayor for being involved in the Creating Livelihood Environmentalism in Accra Now (CLEAN) Project and described the AMA’s project as a unique one adding that the project’s combination of inclusive economic opportunity, sustainable waste management, careful consideration of the needs of women and children, and engagement of the national government would be ambitious for any Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) or United Nation (UN) organization.
"The GCF has 12 cities delivering inclusive climate projects on the African continent, perhaps none more ambitious than Accra’s work to bring informal migrant waste pickers into the formal economy, ensure they have equal access to healthcare, and provide a safe space for their children to grow and learn, " he said.
He appealed to other organisations to support the AMA to ensure that migrants and refugees in Accra were recognized as Ghanaian residents with equal access to housing, employment, and other critical services.
"For international actors working in West Africa, I invite you to join the Mayors Migration Council in investing in and supporting local leadership here in Accra to help them realize their ambition for both the benefit of Accra and for Ghana, " he said.
Fatao Dialo Ndiaye, Chief of Mission International Organization for Migration (IOM), said when migrants felt included in the social processes, they were empowered to support the development of the city adding that the IOM, stood committed to strengthening the capacity of cities in managing migration.
She said the IOM would from next year strengthen the capacity of city managers in Accra to manage human mobility in the context of climate change stressing the project would support Accra to integrate human mobility dimensions in the context of climate change into its local policies and strategies.
Present at the meeting were representatives of the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS), the University of Ghana, People's Dialogue, and the French Business Development Agency among others.