Pacific to set priorities for an international binding agreement on plastics

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-History is now in the making with Pacific Island representatives gathering in Suva, Fiji this week on the road to an international binding agreement on plastics.

Our island region will establish its priorities before the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) to negotiate a new binding global agreement covering the whole life cycle of plastics. This will help ensure our Pacific voice will be heard from the very beginning.

The Pacific Regional Preparatory Workshop for the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee is funded by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Australian Aid, and is coordinated by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP).

The INC was formed during the Fifth Session of the United Nations Environment Assembly, when they agreed to the resolution to “End Plastic Pollution: Towards an International Legally Binding Instrument”.

The resolution is in line with the Pacific Regional Declaration on the Prevention of Marine Litter and Plastic Pollution and its Impacts, which expresses grave concerns from our Pacific leaders about environmental, social, cultural, economic, human rights and other impacts of plastics pollution at every stage of its life cycle.

“As Pacific islanders, we are heavily reliant on our ocean as not only a source of livelihood, but as part of our culture and identity. Each year, over eight million tonnes of plastic ends up in our ocean, making up at least 80% of marine debris,” said Sefanaia Nawadra, Director General, Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Pacific (SPREP) as he stressed the importance of bringing the Pacific together for the INC.

“It is therefore crucial that we have a strong, One Pacific voice in these negotiations to bring about an internationally binding agreement that will help us protect our Pacific ocean.”

The first INC meeting is scheduled to be held in Uruguay this November.

The Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme, as the premier regional organisation for the protection of the environment, will be bringing together government representatives, private sector, technical experts and academia for a two-day regional preparatory workshop next week.

This will be followed by a one-day session of strategic planning for Pacific Island Members.

The aim of the preparatory meeting is to aid Member governments in their preparation for the first INC, and to provide then with the assistance they may need in negotiating a global agreement to address plastic pollution.

The meeting will be held from 16 – 18 August 2022 at the Grand Pacific Hotel in Suva, Fiji. It will be a hybrid meeting, with the face-to-face portion to be held in Suva while other participants will be able to join virtually.

The Pacific Regional Preparatory Workshop for the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee is held from 16 – 18 August 2022 in Suva, Fiji. It funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs of the Government of Australia, and organised by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme.

To register, please visit www.inc.sprep.org.

For more information, please contact  Anthony Talouli, Waste Management and Pollution Control Director, at anthonyt@sprep.org.

SOURCE: SPREP/PACNEWS