Interview : Fatma Zohra Zerouati

What are the main characteristics of the national environmental strategy up to 2030?

FATMA ZOHRA ZEROUATI: Based on the rights safeguarded by the constitution, the national strategy for the environment aims to progress the health and quality of life of citizens, the circular economy, food security, the fight against desertification and resilience to climate change. This will ensure the country is able to address future socio-economic and environmental challenges. The governance framework will remain the responsibility of the structures and institutions involved, but it will rely on adjustments to legislative and regulatory frameworks to reinforce synergy across sectors.

The economic vision of the country aims to strengthen the role of the private sector in the national economy. As such, it plays a crucial role in the implementation of the national environmental strategy, particularly in the context of public and private partnerships. The public sector will also strengthen its regulatory functions. The opportunities and areas of investment in this sector are rich and varied.

How can the use of solar energy and other renewable solutions be encouraged?

ZEROUATI: Algeria enjoys high solar potential, with 2000 to 3000 hours of sunshine per year and daily irradiation of 3-6 KWh per sq metre. These levels have allowed the government to establish a long-term national development programme that provides a capacity of about 22,000 MW. This programme has been supported by the recent creation of a legal framework that encourages the use of renewable energies through multiform incentives and the promotion of various local equipment suppliers.

A national strategy is being finalised regarding the implementation of a programme to develop off-grid renewable energies. The strategic objectives of this programme will include answering the energy demands of remote, isolated sites away from the energy grid, and reducing the impact of conventional electricity generation on the environment.

Algeria is beginning an exciting socio-economic and environmentally-dynamic relationship with renewable energies. The implementation of several of these projects will require detailed preparation of regulatory conditions, followed by communication and awareness campaigns with the goal of mobilising stakeholders and encouraging investment in the relevant issues.

What are the priority projects for the creation of a productive system for waste management?

ZEROUATI: The National Strategy for Integrated Waste Management 2035 focuses on reducing waste at the source, developing the circular economy and supporting these transitions with implementation plans, ongoing monitoring and evaluation. Reducing the volume of household waste, which is currently 13m tonnes per year, is a priority, as is the gradual establishment of selective sorting. The recyclable potential here is considerable, representing close to 6m tonnes per year.

The “polluter pays” principle will be introduced, and taxes will be changed to finance the costs of services related to waste management. In the past, public management of waste has not been sufficient and few financial incentives have been developed thus far. Moreover, around $2bn of public investments have been made since 2003. This gives us a solid base on which we can build systems for increased waste recovery. In addition to strengthening institutional, regulatory and governance frameworks, we will develop a communication strategy to motivate stakeholders. We will also encourage the opening of the market to the private sector; improve knowledge of waste streams; establish economic and financial incentives in order to stimulate interest in private investment; and implement a public packaging recovery system that will organise a variety of recovery channels for comprehensive, ongoing improvements to waste packaging.