Waste and pollution by it are one of the most important environmental issues in a large number of developing countries, including the Republic of Moldova. They cause a variety of negative effects there ranging from local soil and water contamination and increase of morbidity to emissions of greenhouse gases and contribution to the global climate change. In addition, waste is an indicator of resource use inefficiency and high economic losses for the country.
In spite of these negative effects of the waste issue, the performance of waste management in Moldova is rather low. More than 90% of all waste is disposed to landfill sites, which in most cases are not managed properly and do not meet the basic environmental standards. Waste separation at the source and recycling are present only occasionally, and their efficiency is not at the desired level. The reasons of such inefficiency in waste management in the country include conservative top-down waste governance style, low administrative capacity to deal with the waste issue effectively, inefficient waste policies and legislation, weak monitoring and control over waste management, lack of source separation, small waste management market size, problem of free-riding by waste management entities, low stakeholder involvement and participation, insufficient awareness about the waste issue among the society, low demand for better waste management policies and practices, and others.
One of the ways to address the problem of inefficient waste management in such a country, as Moldova, is the involvement and synergetic cooperation of non-state actors – private companies, large CSR-oriented corporations and environmental non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Certain research literature (for example, Coskeran et al., 2006; Falkner, 2003; Joseph, 2005) shows significant gains of such solution from the economic, social, and environmental points of view. However, it does not thoroughly explain how to manage non-state cooperation in an efficient manner and thus ensure its success in improving waste management in a developing state. Closing this gap of knowledge and elaborating a practically applicable model for organizations in Moldova to use became the focus of my research project entitled “Non-state Cooperation in Environment Protection Area in Developed and Developing Countries: The Case of Waste Management in Moldova”, which was introduced and described in the post “LET’S CLEAN UP MOLDOVA… IN A SCIENTIFIC WAY!”.
After a year (June 2011 – May 2012) of intense research, expeditions, field work, interviews, etc. the main modeling and key findings of the project were compiled in Master thesis submitted to the Faculty of Science of the University of Copenhagen in Denmark on the 27th of May, 2012. The thesis gave answer to the main research question, which was “How can one model the process of non-state cooperation development in waste management and apply the elaborated theoretic model in practice in order to improve waste management and governance in the Republic of Moldova?”, through analysis and discussions around the following seven questions:
1) Why is waste an important issue to be addressed?
2) How can waste be managed efficiently?
3) Why is waste management and governance a problem in Moldova?
4) Why should private companies and NGOs be involved in waste management?
5) How can non-state actors work together to address the waste issue?
6) How can the waste issue in Moldova be solved through non-state cooperation?
7) What are the applications and limitations of the present work?
All these questions were answered with the help of a large number of economic, business and political literature sources, different theories and research methods, existing good case practices of non-state cooperation in waste management in different countries and other resources that can be found in the specially created LinkedIn group "TripleR: Join the Waste Management Evolution!". The practical part of the thesis included the data from two expeditions and field work in Moldova, which were supported financially by the Explorers Club Exploration Fund. The model elaborated and described in the thesis was empirically applied to the 2012 edition of the national cleanup campaign “Hai, Moldova!”, thus identifying its successes and drawbacks and coming up with suggestions for capitalizing on the former and reducing the latter.
Nowadays the complete Master thesis is publicly available and can be accessed and downloaded HERE:

Still, that was not all. “La Grande Finale” of this research work took place at the University of Copenhagen on the 19th of June, 2012, when I successfully defended my Master thesis. An episode from its presentation can be viewed HERE:

Unfortunately, due to technical issues it was not possible to record the whole defence. Nevertheless, you have probably noticed that I tried to present my findings in the form of a poem. This was done in order to challenge myself in delivering a creative and innovative presentation and combining research work with one of my interests and hobbies, which is writing poetry. If you want to see how successful (or not) this idea was, you can watch the full version of the presentation HERE:

Although the Master thesis has been defended, the research project is not finished yet. Some more work consisting of preparing summary reports for project beneficiaries, publishing the obtained results in articles and presenting them at various scientific conferences should still be done. Further updates about the progress here will be published in the LinkedIn group "TripleR: Join the Waste Management Evolution!" and on this blog.
Hopefully the results of this research project will be a useful contribution in mitigating waste pollution and improving waste management and governance in the Republic of Moldova and other developing countries.

Note: There is still much research work needs to be done on the topic of non-state cooperation in environment protection area. If you are interested in cooperation within further research here, I would be glad if you contact me by e-mail: bsrcentre@gmail.com.

1 comment:

Shurik said...

7 months of research in 100 photos: