July 15, 2024


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Environmental Group herald African leadership on planetary protection as Rwanda set foundation for global solution to plastic pollution 

  • At the Ministerial Conference on Marine Litter and Plastic Pollution in Geneva on Sept 2nd¬†Rwanda and Peru co-presented¬†the first negotiation proposal for a legally binding global treaty on plastic pollution.¬†¬†
  • Support was given by many other African nations including Kenya but with a notable absence from the South African delegates¬†¬†
  • The negotiations presented set to ‚Äėturbo charge the circular economy and improve all life on earth.‚Äô¬†¬†

Despite marine litter notably dominating the global conversation on plastics, it is land-locked Rwanda who have shown the weight of their nation’s expertise and commitment to ending environmental destruction. A presentation of the first negotiation on a Global Plastics Treaty was proposed this week, placing the African nation at the forefront of environmental leadership.  

The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) have heralded the country for truly leading the way for the¬†‚Äėonly¬†global¬†solution-based approach that will end the planetary threat from plastic devastation.‚Äô¬†¬†

Some of the wealthiest nations on Earth convened in Geneva this week for the first ever Ministerial Conference on plastic pollution. While the U.S. continues to sit on the fence and Japan proposes lowering ambition, it was Rwanda and Peru who led the charge on tackling one of the world’s gravest and most immediate threats.  

The proposal requests an Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) for a new legally binding treaty on plastic pollution to be established at the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) 5.2 in February 2022 with a view to undertaking swift negotiations in recognition of its urgency. The key objectives of the proposal are to reduce plastic pollution in all environments and promote a circular economy for plastics. The resolution is co-sponsored by Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, the European Union and its 27 Member States, Guinea, Kenya, Norway Philippines, Senegal and Switzerland.  

Tim¬†Grabiel, Senior Lawyer, Environmental Investigation Agency, said:¬†¬†‚ÄúIt speaks volumes that Rwanda, a land-locked country, is leading the charge against plastic pollution in the marine and other environments while many coastal nations dither. With six months to go before UNEA-5.2,¬†we call on other leading African nations to sign on as co-sponsors.‚Ä̬†

Juliet Kabera, Director General, Rwanda Environment Management Authority, said:¬†‚ÄúPlastic pollution affects every corner of the globe ‚Äď on land and at sea. Its impact is particularly devastating in Africa where plastic waste is often dumped and recycling facilities are limited. The proposed global plastics treaty will reduce plastics in our environment, turbo charge the circular economy and improve the health of all life on earth.¬†¬†

It‚Äôs a logical and practical next step in our effort to address the¬†duel¬†climate and biodiversity crises.‚Ä̬†¬†

Griffins¬†Ochieng, Executive Director,¬†Centre¬†For¬†Environment Justice¬†And¬†Development, in Kenya,¬†said::¬†‚ÄúToday we crossed a major milestone on the road to UNEA with the circulation of the Rwanda-Peru resolution setting out and ambitious vision for addressing plastic pollution and calling for the creation of an intergovernmental negotiating committee for a legally binding global agreement.¬†This sets¬†the foundation of all future discussions and¬†represents¬†a significant development for Africa and the world as we work to end plastic pollution. Many African countries have come out strongly in support of a global treaty, rallying behind the leadership of Rwanda.‚Ä̬†¬†

Key proposals from the resolution were:  

  • Achieving sustainable production and consumption, in alignment with Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 12.¬†¬†
  • Recognition of the need for an international¬†legally-binding¬†instrument on plastic pollution, to prevent and reduce the environmental impact.¬†¬†¬†
  • Promoting a circular economy and addressing the full lifecycle of plastics¬†¬†
  • Consider the need for a financial mechanism to support the implementation of priorities, including the option of a dedicated multilateral fund¬†¬†
  • Specifying financial and technical arrangements, as well as technology transfer assistance, to support¬†implementation¬†for all countries¬†¬†
  • Addressing product design and use, including compounds, additives and harmful substances as well as intentionally added microplastics¬†¬†




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