GIZ publish seminal work on Operator Models

GIZ have announced the finalisation of their work on Operator Models, focusing on how services for municipal solid waste management are delivered around the world, and analyzing the success factors and conditions for the different models.  Based on an in-depth Sourcebook, a practical Guidance Paper was developed as a decision maker’s toolfor public authorities, development agencies and practitioners working to improve municipal solid waste management practices. Professor David C Wilson was one of the co-authors of the report, alongside Réka Soós, Andrew Whiteman and Cosmin Briciu of RWA and Ekkehard Schwehn of ERM Germany.

This project was part of the German Technical Cooperation Agency – GIZ’s sector project on Concepts for Sustain­able Waste Management, which is a challenge to most local and national governments in developing countries. It aimed to fill a particular knowledge gap, on the delivery of waste management services or ‘operator models’ in cities around the world. Operator models are analysed in terms of the interactions between three key institutional components: the ‘client’ responsible for ensuring provision of a reliable municipal solid waste management (MSWM) service that meets the required standard; the operator who delivers the service on-the-ground; and the revenue collector who collects fees from the users. Theanalytical framework focuses on both the physical components of MSWM and the governance aspects. Information on existing operator models was collected from some 134 case studies, of which 28 were short-listed and five examined in the field.  

The evidence suggests that all forms of ‘operator model’ for the delivery of solid waste and recycling services can be appropriate, with each model likely to be more suitable in particular ‘niches’ and according to the local circumstances. This contradicts the oft-presented view that private-sector service delivery is always better than public sector services, or that large service providers are ‘better’ than small informal sector or micro-enterprise service providers – the evidence is that all can work well given the right local conditions.  

The detailed Source Book and Guidance Paper provide much information to assist in selecting an appropriate operator model tailored to the specific requirements of a particular local situation. The key findings focus on how framework conditions determine local objectives when selecting an operator model; the characteristics of a good model; conditions and capacities influencing the choice between public and private sector, and between municipal or inter-municipal, models; and detailed comparison of options for providing specific MSWM services.