Solomon Islands might be the newest member of the High Ambition Coalition (HAC) to End Plastic Pollution but this has not stopped the Pacific nation from taking the global stage at the plastic treaty negotiations in Nairobi, Kenya, reiterating the call to end plastic pollution by 2040.

The Permanent Secretary of the Solomon Islands’ Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management and Meteorology (MECDM), Dr Melchior Mataki, presented a HAC Member States, Ministerial Joint Statement for INC-3 on Monday, during the opening plenary at the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Headquarters.

On the preparation of an international instrument to end plastic pollution, the High Ambition Coalition to End Plastic Pollution believes the Zero Draft, tabled to be discussed this week, provides a good basis to engage in negotiations.

“We reiterate our call for binding provisions in the treaty to restrain and reduce the consumption and production of primary plastic polymers to sustainable levels; eliminate and restrict unnecessary, avoidable, or problematic plastics, as well as the plastic polymers, chemical constituents and plastic products that are of particular concern due to their adverse effects on the environment and human health,” said Dr Mataki.

“[We also reiterate the call to] increase the safe circularity of plastics in the economy, guided by the waste hierarchy; manage plastic waste in an environmentally sound and safe manner, and eliminate the release of plastics, including micro-plastics, to air, water and land.”

HAC, a group of like-minded countries took the initiative to form a Coalition of ambitious countries following the adoption of resolution 5/14 “End Plastic Pollution: Towards an International Legally Binding Instrument” by the UN Environment Assembly in March 2022.

The High Ambition Coalition to End Plastic Pollution, co-chaired by Norway and Rwanda, is committed to develop an ambitious international legally binding instrument based on a comprehensive and circular approach that ensures urgent action and effective interventions along the full lifecycle of plastics. This commitment was re-emphasised by Dr. Mataki on Monday.

“The Coalition continues to call for binding provisions in the treaty to ensure reporting and transparency across the value chain of plastics as well as for the mobilization of the means of implementation from all sources that are necessary to deliver action on the ground to end plastic pollution,” Dr Mataki said.

The High Ambition Coalition to End Plastic Pollution encouraged all INC Member States to immediately and constructively engage at INC-3 on the basis of the Zero Draft, with the goal of making substantial progress on the text. The Coalition also requested the Chair, with support of the Secretariat, to prepare a first draft of the treaty for consideration at INC-4, based on discussions at INC-3 as well as to launch the technical work in the intersessional period to assemble the best available science, data and knowledge to inform the INC in its deliberations of the draft treaty text.

“We reiterate our shared commitment to working with all INC Member States, to build trust and common understanding in order to deliver the ambitious, legally binding instrument needed to achieve our common goal of ending plastic pollution by 2040,” said Dr Mataki.

Given the pressing nature of plastic pollution and the negative impact on Pacific communities, the SPREP Environment Ministers and High-Level Representatives Talanoa Communique 2023 called on all Pacific countries to play a proactive role in the current negotiations on the Global Plastic Treaty to be finalised by 2024 and to consider joining the High Ambition Coalition to End Plastic Pollution by 2040.

In the Communique of the 52nd Pacific Islands Leaders Forum Meeting recently held in the Cook Islands, Pacific Leaders encouraged Members of the Forum to join the High Level Ambition Coalition to End Plastic Pollution, and to continue to support the ongoing plastics treaty negotiations.

The third Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee to develop an international legally binding instrument on plastic pollution, including in the marine environment is taking place in Nairobi Kenya from 13 – 19 November 2023.

The Pacific Islands are represented by the Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu through the support of the Government of Australia and the United Nations.