31 May 2023, Paris France - The voice of Fiji was heard during a meeting of 193 governments tasked with the responsibility of developing a legally binding agreement to address the plastic pollution crisis.
The second Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee to develop an internationally legally binding instrument on plastic pollution, including in the marine environment (INC-2) is now underway in Paris France. The second of five meetings to bring about a plastics treaty by the end of 2024 aims to address a problem caused by humanity.
Fiji is a home to over 850,000 people; and is a desired tourism destination that features white sandy beaches, colourful reefs, lush forests and offers plenty of tropical sunshine. This is under threat from plastic pollution.
It is estimated that 75 to 199 million tonnes of plastic currently lie in our oceans. Under a business-as-usual scenario, the amount of plastic waste entering aquatic ecosystems could nearly triple from 9 – 14 million tonnes per year in 2016 to a projected 23 – 37 million tonnes per year by 2040.
Fiji strongly supports an ambitious legal instrument that is mandatory and legally binding, and includes a robust effective mechanism for transparency that tracks progress made by countries.
“We are fully committed to working with all parties to ensure that the new global treaty is ambitious and robust and will have a clear pathway in protecting human health and the environment from the adverse effects of plastic pollution,” stated Ms Sandeep Singh, of the Fiji Delegation as she took the floor at the INC-2 in Paris today.
Over the course of this week, the INC will negotiate what should be in the legal instrument to address plastic pollution known as Core Obligations, and how this should be done, also referred to as Means of Implementation.
For Fiji, this means the Core Obligations must have legally binding global rules across the whole life cycle of plastics to prevent, reduce, ban, and phase out problematic plastics, chemicals, polymers and products. Problematic plastics are those that end up as waste, or are toxic, and cause harm to our environment while polymer is a raw material that makes up plastic.
Fiji also calls for the new legally binding instrument to ensure the non-toxic and safe circulation and recycling of remaining plastics and to prioritise and reuse where possible. Fiji also stated to the room of over close to 1,500 delegates that it must ensure the environmentally safe and sound management of plastic waste, including legacy plastic pollutants.
“The legally binding global measures should be underpinned by the necessary Means of Implementation that will allow to equitably and effectively implement the treaty while safeguarding against negative socio-economic impacts,” presented Ms Singh at the INC-2.
“We look forward to engaging with all parties in meaningful discussions this week with a view to start developing a zero-draft.”
The second Intergovernmental negotiating committee to develop an international legally binding instrument on plastic pollution, including in the marine environment is taking place in Paris France from 29 May to 2 June 2023.
The Pacific Islands are represented by the Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu and Vanuatu through the support of the Government of Australia and the United Nations.
They are supported by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), working with partners the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, Office of the Pacific Ocean Commissioner, Environmental Investigation Agency, Centre for International Environmental Law, University of Wollongong, WWF and Massey University.
For more information, visit: https://www.unep.org/events/conference/second-session-intergovernmental-negotiating-committee-develop-international