Submitted by admin on Mon, 09/11/2017 - 02:59
September 11, 2017 by admin
General News
Kiribati urged governments, private sector and the donor community to support sustainable consumption and production at the first joint Asia Pacific Ministerial Summit on the Environment.

"Pacific environments require global commitments to sustainable consumption and production," said HE Mr Alexander Teabo, Minister for Ministry of Environment, Lands and Agricultural Development.

"There is also the need for government agencies to work closely with the private sector and donor community on waste management, to realise our dreams for a pollution-free planet."

The Conference is a culmination of UN ministerial-level gatherings that are uniting for the first time under the Asia-Pacific Ministerial Summit on the Environment to grow a regional approach, share best practices, and create partnerships to support sound environmental management for healthier communities.

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Mr Pita Tagicakirewa, Mr Jope Davetanivalu, Ms Marii Marae, Senior Environment Officer, Ministry of Environment, Lands and Agricultural Development, Kiribati, H.E. Alexander Teabo, Minister for Ministry of Environment, Lands and Agricultural Development, and Mr Sefanaia Rawadra, Head of UN Environment Pacific Office. Photo: Tiffany Straza.

The Second UN Environment's Forum of Ministers and Environment Authorities of Asia Pacific and the Seventh Ministerial Conference on Environment and Development in Asia and the Pacific are meeting under the theme 'Towards a resource efficient and pollution free Asia-Pacific.

"We are vulnerable to the impact of waste generated by modern consumption and production patterns, affecting the health of our people and environment," said HE Teabo.

"With limited land space and limited technical know-how, there is simply nowhere to manage and dispose modern waste safely in atoll countries."

Marine pollution with its root cause of poor land-based waste management is a significant threat to the Pacific, and discarded plastic waste and microplastics are considered a priority issue. At the UN Ocean Conference in June, Kiribati through its partner the Phoenix Islands Protected Area Trust (PIPA Trust) committed to support a ban of single-use plastics.

Kiribati has recently joined the global Clean Seas campaign, launched in February this year by UN Environment to eliminate microplastics in cosmetics and drastically reduce single-use plastic by the year 2022.

"Most marine pollution comes from land-based sources, and that is where the efforts need to happen," said Ms. Marii Marae, Senior Environment Officer, Environment and Conservation Division, Ministry of Environment, Lands and Agricultural Development from Kiribati.

"Unsustainable consumption and production practices affect our Pacific environments and species, which we depend on for our living."

Kiribati continues to invest in the waste management sector through the Environment Act, which provides a framework on environmental protection, including waste and pollution management. Kiribati also recently passed the Maritime Act 2017, which provides for the prevention of pollution to the marine environment and matters related to the implementation of international conventions.

The country operates a recycling system with the private sector, which exports aluminium cans, PET bottles, and lead-cell batteries. A deposit scheme charges 5 dollars per battery at the time of sale, with a portion refundable when the used battery is returned for safe disposal.

Waste minimisation on small atolls and islands, like Kiribati, is essential, argued HE Teabo. The concept of the 3 R's — reduce, reuse, recycle — plus 'return' will help to prevent the accumulation of waste residues from imported goods and the current waste management challenges.

The seventh Asia Pacific Ministerial Summit on the Environment is jointly organised by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and UN Environment. It brings together over 50 countries from 5 to 8 September 2017 in Bangkok, Thailand.

The Pacific islands are represented by Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu.

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