Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment Barbara Creecy has welcomed the adoption of the resolution to end plastic pollution with an international legally binding instrument.
“This represents an important landmark and significant decision to protect the environment and particularly our oceans that are important for food security, addressing climate change, improving the health and promoting sustainable development and poverty eradication,” Creecy said.
The resolution was adopted by the resumed 5th Session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA 5.2), unanimously by all member states with resounding acclamation and standing ovations.
Member states have recognised that urgent further international action is needed by developing an international legally binding instrument on plastic pollution, including in the marine environment.
An intergovernmental negotiating committee (INC) will be constituted commencing its work during the second half of 2022, with the ambition of completing by the end of 2024.
“The instrument, which could include both binding and voluntary approaches, would be based on a comprehensive approach that addresses the full lifecycle of plastic, taking into account the principles of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, as well as national circumstances and capabilities. Critical to implementation for developing countries will be the need for means of implementation namely finance, technology and capacity,” the Minister said.
Additional to this milestone resolution, UNEA also decided to establish a science policy panel that would contribute further to the sound management of chemicals and waste and to prevent pollution as well as to continue and strengthen support for the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management.
“South Africa will actively engage in the future multilateral negotiations on plastics pollution with the view to ensuring that we not only have and ambitious and robust instrument but that the needs of developing countries and in particular the special needs and circumstances of Africa are firmly anchored within,” Creecy said.