RWANDA – The governments of Rwanda and Norway together with other nations have launched the High Ambition Coalition to end plastic pollution by 2040.

Launched on Monday, August 22, 2022, the coalition was first initiated following the historic UN Environment Assembly resolution passed in March 2022 to start negotiations of an international legally binding instrument to end plastic pollution.

The coalition is co-chaired by Rwanda’s Minister of Environment, Jeanne d’Arc Mujawamariya and Espen Barth Eide, Minister of Climate and Environment of Norway.

Moving forward, the coalition to end plastic pollution will issue statements and undertake inter-sessional work on essential elements and issues to inform the negotiations in order to develop a landmark treaty by 2024.

The move to end plastic pollution in Rwanda started in 2004, according to Mujawamariya. “Unfortunately, plastic wastes are still visible downstream,” she says.

“This proves the need for global efforts towards a common goal of ending plastic pollution because this is an unacceptable burden to place on future generations.

“Plastic pollution constitutes a planetary crisis with impacts on human health, biodiversity and climate system.”

Other countries joining Rwanda and Norway include Canada, Peru, Germany, Senegal, Georgia, Republic of Korea, UK, Switzerland, Portugal, Chile, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Costa Rica, Iceland, Ecuador and France.

The coalition members have planned a meeting in New York in a few weeks, during the UN General Assembly, to discuss the next steps in the coalition’s work.

The first meeting of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee is set to commence on November 28 in Punta del Este, Uruguay.

The High Ambition Coalition has outlined three strategic goals and seven key deliverables for success in the negotiations.

The goals include restraining plastic consumption and production to sustainable levels, enabling a circular economy for plastics that protect the environment and human health as well as achieving environmentally sound management and recycling of plastic waste.

The move comes off the back of a study report by Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Global Plastic Outlook Policy Scenarios, which estimated an increase in plastic pollution in the future.

According to the report, without urgent global action, the volume of plastics in rivers and lakes will increase from 109 million tonnes in 2019 to 348 million tonnes in 2060, while plastics leaking into the ocean will rise from 30 million tonnes in 2019 to 145 million tonnes in 2060.

The study also projected an increase in consumption of plastics in the coming decades, from 460 million tonnes in 2019 to 1,231 million tonnes in 2060.

According to OECD, the most significant sectors driving consumption are packaging, vehicles and construction which will make up 2/3 of all use.

In a bid to reduce amount of plastic production and consumption, some of the world’s largest corporations-including Unilever, P&G, Walmart, and Coca-Cola- have joined together to call for global targets and standards for the plastics lifestyle.

These organizations and businesses are advocating for an even playing field for them to develop new circular business models and make a circular economy work in practice and at scale.

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