Submitted by Sosikeni Lesa on Fri, 12/02/2022 - 10:31
Director of the Department of Environment of Fiji, Ms Sandeep Singh.
December 2, 2022 by Sosikeni Lesa
Waste Management and Pollution Control

01 December 2022, Punta del Este - Binding control measures and obligations, to ensure global transparency of information on the presence and the identity of chemicals in plastic materials and products throughout their lifecycle, should form an integral part of a legally binding instrument on plastics.

The point was raised by the Pacific Small Island Developing States (PSIDS) during the plenary of the first session of the International Negotiating Committee (INC1) to develop a legally binding agreement on plastic pollution, in Puna del Este, Uruguay.

The Director of the Department of Environment of Fiji, Ms Sandeep Singh, spotlighted the downstream consequences of unsustainable design of plastic products, and the inappropriate management of end-of-life plastic products, on Pacific island countries. She delivered the statement on behalf of PSIDS on Agenda Item 4.3(c) which deals with support to monitoring and evaluation of progress in, and effectiveness of implementation and national reporting.

As a region, she reminded that Pacific countries have limited influence on the quantities and types of plastic which end up in our ocean. This is why at the negotiations in Punta del Este, PSIDS are calling for the proposed international legally binding instrument to deliver strong outcomes for all countries in the downstream waste management phase of the plastics life cycle, for climate change and for biodiversity loss, reflecting the triple planetary crisis.

“Monitoring and evaluation is key to the success of the new instrument to ensure its effectiveness and to ensure that we are truly delivering on our agreed obligations,” said Ms Singh.

“To track progress on these agreed obligations, a global monitoring programme that sets targets and indicators, with time frames must include full transparency and traceability arrangements.

“This should include monitoring and verification of sources, levels, types and impacts of plastic pollution on a regular basis, particularly in the marine environment, and periodic reporting on national sources levels and types of plastics being produced.”

Targets, data and performance indicators will also be of critical importance in the process, the plenary was told.

“Monitoring progress against National Action Plans should also have measurable, timebound targets, including reduction targets, along with corresponding performance indicators, and with coverage of the full lifecycle of plastic, and taking into account national circumstances and in particular the special circumstances of small island developing states.

“As a region we require assistance applying standard methodologies to collect and analyse data to understand and enable evidence based reduction of stresses on the environment and on human health and to enable evidence based improvements to flows of plastics and associated chemicals in our economies including environmentally sound waste management. We see an important role for a subsidiary scientific, economic, and technical body to provide guidance and support on these needs.”

The first Intergovernmental negotiating committee to develop an international legally binding instrument on plastic pollution, including in the marine environment is taking place in Punta del Este, Uruguay from 28 November–2 December 2022. 

The Pacific Islands are represented by Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, and Tuvalu 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) with financial assistance from the Government of Australia.  SPREP is working with partners the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, Office of the Pacific Ocean Commissioner, University of Newcastle, Environmental Investigation Agency, Centre for International Environmental Law, University of Wollongong, WWF and Massey University.