28 May 2023, Paris France - On the eve of the second session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee to develop an international legally binding instrument on plastic pollution, including in the marine environment (INC2) in Paris France, the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) chaired by Samoa, has rallied its members to stand together to negotiate an ambitious and comprehensive instrument that reflects the interests of Small Island Developing States (SIDS).
The call came from the Permanent Representative of Samoa to the United Nations, His Excellency Fatumanava-o-Upolu III Dr Pa’olelei Luteru, who reiterated that any instrument from the ongoing INC process must remedy the disproportionate impact of plastic pollution on the AOSIS membership, which includes Pacific Island countries who are at the forefront of the plastic pollution crisis.
“This is the first opportunity we’ve had to come together with most of you since INC-1 in Uruguay, and we appreciate the time that everyone made to meet virtually in the lead up to this week to progress our work on developing AOSIS positions around the negotiations for an international agreement towards ending plastic pollution,” Ambassador Fatumanava said.
“Over the coming days, you will be engaged in discussions and negotiations that will not be easy but we need to stick together because it is only through rallying together that we will be stronger.”
Since 1990, AOSIS has represented the interests of 39 small island and low-lying coastal developing states in international climate change, sustainable development, and ocean management negotiations and processes. As a voice for the vulnerable, its mandate is more than amplifying marginalised voices as it also advocates for these countries’ interests.
During AOSIS’s first INC-2 coordination meeting at the UNESCO Headquarters on Sunday, a day before INC-2 begins, the Alliance discussed and finalised its positions on multiple points of the Secretariat’s option paper. The AOSIS draft position paper was developed based on submissions from AOSIS members, and perspectives raised during the pre-INC-2 AOSIS consultations, which took place virtually in May.
“We’ve had a good start today on the Option Paper and the relevant issues, which some of you are aware we started working on in Uruguay at INC-1,” Ambassador Fatumanava said. “It was a very fruitful discussion, there have been some refinement in some areas but there are still some outstanding matters that we need to discuss further.”
Samoa’s work as Chair of AOSIS in INC-2 marks a new era of Pacific Island leadership on the global stage, since Samoa took over from the Caribbean island of Antigua and Barbuda at the beginning of 2023. Belize had served as chair prior to Antigua.
Samoa has vowed to continue to amplify and advocate for the Alliance’s interests on the global stage and to secure global commitments and agreement, on critical issues such as Climate Change, Sustainable Development, the Ocean, food security, energy, and more ambition on finance to support the achievement of agreed targets under the SDGs, the Paris Agreement and the SAMOA Pathway.
Ambassador Fatumanava acknowledged the AOSIS membership, partners and all the work that has been done to advance the fight against plastic and marine pollution.
“I am glad to see that we have formed more robust and detailed positions on key elements this morning. And we look forward to more of this constructive dialogue in the days to come.”
INC-1 held in Punta del Este, Uruguay in December 2022 considered broad options for the structure on the instrument and potential elements of the future instrument. The meeting also requested the INC Secretariat to prepare, in consultation with the INC Chair, for consideration at INC-2 a document with potential options for elements towards an international legally binding instrument, based on a comprehensive approach that addresses: the full life cycle of plastics as called for in UNEA resolution 5/14, including identifying the objective; substantive provisions including core obligations, control measures and voluntary approaches; implementation measures and means of implementation. The INC agreed that the options document would draw on the views expressed by Member States during the first session of the committee and in written submissions.
The work at INC-2, from 29 May to 2 June 2023, is expected to define the main features and possible scope of the future instrument. It is possible that after discussion of the options paper, a mandate would be given to draft a zero-draft text for the international legally binding agreement, to be circulated ahead of INC-3 in Nairobi, Kenya in November.
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
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WHAT IS AOSIS?
AOSIS stands for the Alliance of Small Island States. Since 1990, AOSIS has represented the interests of the 39 small island and low-lying coastal developing states in international climate change, sustainable development negotiations and processes. As a voice for the vulnerable, its mandate is more than amplifying marginalised voices as it also advocates for these countries’ interests.
In terms of size, AOSIS closely resembles the countries it represents on the global stage, but often punches far above its weight, negotiating historic global commitments to cut greenhouse gas emissions, among other achievements. Visit: www.aosis.org