The Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (S.P.R.E.P) has been recognised as the Pacific regional node for the Global Partnership on Marine Litter (G.P.M.L).
The G.P.M.L is a global partnership gathering international agencies, Governments, N.G.Os, academia, private sector, civil society and individuals. As a regional node for the G.P.M.L with funding from UN Environment, S.P.R.E.P’s work includes serving as the regional hub for marine litter work, with the first step being the creation of an information clearinghouse for regional studies and ongoing projects.
The regional node will also work to minimise duplication of marine litter-related projects and foster partnerships as part of the framework of the Cleaner Pacific 2025, a regional strategy developed with Pacific leaders and waste management experts.
“This regional node will help us ensure effective, efficient action in our Pacific islands to prevent and clean up marine litter, as part of the implementation of the regional strategy Cleaner Pacific 2025,” said Leota Kosi Latu, Director General of S.P.R.E.P.
He noted that this is an excellent example of a genuine and durable partnership between S.P.R.E.P and UN Environment and acknowledged the high level commitment by Pacific Leaders in their Communique to ban single use plastic bags, plastics and Styrofoam packaging.
Leota stated that the issue of plastic pollution was of particular concern to the region as well as global issue. “As the agency responsible for waste and pollution management issues, we will be continuing our support to our Member countries with practical actions, information and policy transformation for a cleaner, healthier Pacific.”
“Pacific leaders have made their concerns about marine pollution clear, and we are pleased to support waste managementas part of our continuing partnership with S.P.R.E.P and the Pacific countries,” said Isabelle Louis, Deputy Regional Director for UN Environment Asia-Pacific.
“Information exchange and access to technology and financewill be among our contribution to the region’s efforts, as well aspromoting sustainable consumption and production.”
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 2017, S.P.R.E.P and UN Environment made a joint voluntary commitment to prevent and mitigate marine debris.
“In addition to the launch of an information portal to connect people with the right information and tools to tackle marine litter, UN Environment’s support allows us to develop and begin to implement a regional marine litter action plan,” said Anthony Talouli, S.P.R.E.P Pollution Adviser.
“We want to track, share and integrate actions at national and regional levels for faster responses to our litter challenges.”
Mr. Talouli further noted that to achieve Cleaner Seas takes time, resources and commitment and he encouraged participants to show their commitment by joining the Pacific regional node for the Global Partnership on Marine Litter. 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.
“We are pleased to announce Kiribati’s commitment to Clean Seas focusing on banning single-use plastics, and we hope to showcase other Pacific commitments during the global UN Environment Assembly this December in Nairobi,” said Ms. Louis.
“This year’s theme for U.N.E.A is a Pollution-Free Planet, and Pacific leadership can move us toward that vision.”