Morocco: Improving Municipal Solid Waste Management through Development Policy Operations

May 22, 2013

Arne Hoel l World Bank

The World Bank has been providing technical assistance and finance to Morocco’s municipal solid waste sector since 2003, supporting the government improve the governance of the sector, professionalize solid waste collection services, which cover more than 66 percent of the urban population at the end of 2011, and boost the percentage of collected waste disposed in sanitary landfills to 32 percent in 2011, from 10 percent in 2008.


Morocco’s municipal solid waste services had historically been defined only in terms of “cleanliness,” with limited attention and resource allocation to waste disposal. This situation had led to significant negative economic, environmental and social impacts and the solid waste sector faced issues on virtually all fronts. The cost of the environmental degradation due to solid waste was estimated at 0.5 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2003 (among the highest in the Middle East, North Africa region).The legal and institutional framework was weak and financial sustainability was doubtful. There was an urgent need for integrated and modernized sector management systems. In addition, the sector was missing out on opportunities available under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) to support the global effort in climate change mitigation. To tackle the problems, the government initiated the reform of the sector with the enactment, in 2006, of the first Solid Waste Law. The government also approved a 15-year, 3-phase national municipal solid waste management program (PNDM) in 2007, but the challenge was to get the program effectively up and running.


Starting in 2003, the Bank’s sector dialogue focused on accompanying the government in developing a sound analytical basis for sector interventions, examining social, environmental, and financial aspects and the potential for private sector participation. Based on this knowledge and fruitful sector dialogue, a flexible programmatic series of two development policy loans (DPLs) was developed and approved in 2009 to support the first phase of the PNDM and contribute to incentivize municipalities to modernize solid waste management services. It was the first experience ever for the World Bank in using the development policy lending instrument in the solid waste sector.


The DPL program has accompanied a transformation of the solid waste sector in Morocco, progressing from a concept of cleanliness in the cities to broader social, environmental and economic sustainability considerations. The Bank-supported program (2009-2011) contributed to substantiating the sector policy and providing the necessary regulatory framework for establishing the foundations for integrated and affordable municipal solid waste management systems. Tangible results include:

  • Establishment of the National Commission of Solid Waste Management, which now provides well-ingrained and effective coordination of sector policies and government actions within the 15-year national solid waste program.
  • An effective result-oriented incentive mechanism allocating national financial resources to support municipalities.
  • Professional collection services benefit about 12 million people, or 66 percent of the urban population in 2011, against less than 40 percent before the PNDM.
  • Collected waste disposed in sanitary landfills increased from a low of 10 percent in 2008 to 32 percent in 2011; closing or rehabilitation of 21 open dumpsites.
  • Increase in the municipal service tax, from MAD 1.4 million in 2008 to 2.6 million in 2011.
  • Adherence to sound technical and environmental regulations in the tendering process, and approval of 25 Environmental Impact Assessments.
  • Piloting social inclusion activities for 154 waste pickers, ready to roll out results to benefit 20,000 people.
  • Development of a carbon finance program under the CDM with a potential to generate revenue from 6 million tons of CO2 equivalent by 2020.

Bank Group Contribution

The program consisted of two single-tranche DPL loans made by the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) totaling US$271.3 million.  The first loan of US$132.7 million was approved in March 2009.  The second loan of US$138.6 was approved in December 2010.


The project design was coordinated with other donor’s support to capacity building activities (especially the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) and the German development bank (KfW) in SWM and the Agence Française de Développement (AFD) in broader aspects of municipal finances). The Bank worked very closely with GIZ, which has confirmed the continuation of contributions to the SWM sector until at least 2015, and hence a continued strong cooperation.

Moving Forward

An important factor in the success of the DPL program was the dialogue between the Bank and the Moroccan authorities, the articulation of the main pillars of the reform (institutional and financial framework), support for local authorities in terms of finances and capacity building, and advocacy/communication around the program.  These actions will continue through the third operation with a clearer focus on social aspects as part of a pillar focusing on the development of recycling and the professionalization of SWM in line with the advancing regionalization.


A key benefit to the Government of Morocco has been the institutional change which was an integral part of the DPL program.  In terms of social benefits, the modernization of the Municipal Solid Waste collection services was implemented mostly through private sector participation, and today benefits about 66 percent of the urban population.  Private sector contracts are based on common standards for service delivery (quality and coverage) and, as a result, poor communities previously un-served and/or suffering from low quality services now have equal access to decent MSW collection services.