Clean Pacific Roundtable Highlights Regional Initiatives, Agreement to Reduce Waste in Ocean
UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe
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The Roundtable provided the opportunity to take stock and strengthen collaboration and partnerships towards a pollution-free Pacific, discuss challenges faced in addressing waste across the region, and seek solutions in line with the Cleaner Pacific 2025, the Pacific Regional Waste and Pollution Management Strategy 2016-2025.

Among other issues, the meeting focused on: boosting ecotourism through waste management; coordinated actions to combat marine debris; ensuring more informed decisions through waste data management; further enhancing regional capacity in waste management; and regional coordination in recycling.

The Roundtable also highlighted a number of initiatives and partnerships in the region.

28 August 2018: Participants attending the second Clean Pacific Roundtable, which convened on the theme, ‘Pathways to a Pollution-free Pacific,’ agreed on a plan for managing pollution in the region and to work in partnership to help reduce the amount of land-based waste ending up in the ocean.

The Clean Pacific Roundtable 2018, which took place in Suva, Fiji, from 20-22 August 2018, was organized by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), with support from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the EU, among others.

The Roundtable provided the opportunity to take stock and strengthen collaboration and partnerships towards a pollution-free Pacific, discuss challenges faced in addressing waste across the region, and seek solutions in line with the Cleaner Pacific 2025, the Pacific Regional Waste and Pollution Management Strategy 2016-2025.

More specifically, the roundtable focused on, inter alia: boosting ecotourism through waste management; coordinated actions to combat marine debris; ensuring more informed decisions through waste data management; further enhancing regional capacity in waste management; and regional coordination in recycling. [Second Clean Pacific Roundtable Website]

An Ocean Action Hub news story notes that around eight million metric tons of plastic end up in the ocean every year, and scientists predict that by 2050, there will be more plastic than fish in the world’s oceans. This is especially concerning for the Pacific where fish is the main source of protein for the population, and fish consumption is approximately three or four times higher than the global average. To address this, during their 2017 meeting, Pacific Island Forum (PIF) leaders committed to fast-track the development of policies to ban the use of single-use plastic bags, plastic and styrofoam packaging. [SPREP Press Release on Opening of Roundtable] [Ocean Action Hub News Story]

Plastic pollution requires national, regional and global targeted action, and is now “a food security issue.”

In her statement, the Secretary General of the PIF Secretariat (PIFS), Meg Taylor, noted that “this region-wide call for urgent action on plastics, marine pollution and marine debris has the potential to be a catalyst for similar global action.” [Statement by PIFS Secretary General Meg Taylor]

Fijian Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama said Fiji is leading by example in helping the region address the increase in marine debris, plastics and micro-plastics across the Pacific. [Address by Prime Minister of Fiji Frank Bainimarama]

SPREP Director General Kosi Latu emphasized, inter alia, that plastic pollution requires national, regional and global targeted action, and is now “a food security issue.” [Address by SPREP Director General Kosi Latu]

The Roundtable also highlighted a number of initiatives and partnerships in the region.

Plastic Bag Levy in Fiji

In August 2017, Fiji, which aims to phase out single use plastic bags by 2025, introduced a plastic bag levy that has dramatically reduced plastic use. Thus far, Fiji has levied more than 43 million plastic bags from around 4,200 businesses. [SPREP News Story on Plastic Bag Levy]

Kiribati Sustainable Waste Management System

Under Kiribati’s sustainable waste management system, ‘Kaoki Maange,’ people receive four cents for recycling aluminum cans and PET plastic bottles and US$4 for used lead-acid car batteries, which are then exported off-island to recyclers, since Kiribati has limited space to stockpile recycled materials. Kaoki Maange has been operating for more than a decade and began as a pilot project in partnership with the UN Development Programme (UNDP). Steps are also underway to include a scrap vehicle recycling system to address the stockpile of end-of-life vehicles in Kiribati. [SPREP Kiribati Kaoki Maange System New Story]

Initiatives in Niue

Niue is building a waste recycling facility to help recycle imported goods that will be be exported offshore, and will phase out single use plastic bags in 2019. The Niue Recycling Facility, which will be operational by the end of 2019, will begin with glass bottles and PET plastic bottles and will expand to recycle other types of materials, such as steel and aluminum cans, paper and cardboard, e-waste, lead-acid and lithium batteries and end-of-life vehicles. Niue already collects crushed glass collected from businesses, suppliers and households and repurposes the glass to fill potholes, and is piloting a shredding machine at their landfill site for green waste. [SPREP News Story on New Waste Initiatives in Niue]

SPREP-GGGI MoU

SPREP and the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the sidelines of the Roundtable to, inter alia: strengthen national, subnational and local green growth planning, and financing and institutional frameworks; and increase green public and private investment flows. Among other initiatives, GGGI has already supported mainstreaming green growth into Fiji’s National Development Plan, developed Fiji’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) Roadmap and Low Emission Development Strategy (LEDS), and helped set up Vanuatu’s National Green Energy Fund in Vanuatu. [GGGI Press Release]


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