December 11, 2018

UNGA President, Antigua and Barbuda, Norway Announce Campaign to Tackle Plastic Pollution

News Source: SDG Knowledge Hub

Author(s): Catherine Benson Wahlén

4 December 2018: The UN General Assembly (UNGA) President Maria Fernanda Espinosa launched a global call to action on plastic pollution with the Governments of Antigua and Barbuda and Norway. The Campaign will focus on phasing out the use of single-use plastics and raising awareness of the impact of plastic pollution on the environment and human health.

In a statement, Espinosa observed that estimates suggest there will be more plastic than fish in the sea by 2050 and “every person on the planet is believed to have plastic in their bodies.” She emphasized her intent to “leverage the capacity of the office of the President of the UNGA” to support ongoing global campaigns to beat plastic pollution. Espinosa had previously identified the environment and a ban on plastics among the seven top priorities of her agenda as UNGA President. Espinosa stressed that the UNGA campaign will support complementary efforts by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP, or UN Environment), National Geographic and Global Citizen, among others.

Every person on the planet is believed to have plastic in their bodies.

The ‘Campaign Against Plastic Pollution’ will focus on two areas: global advocacy in collaboration with Member States and UN agencies to reach the public; and internal initiatives to reduce plastic use within the UN. In spring 2019, the campaign will be highlighted in events across the globe, including during an event celebrating innovative progress in New York City, the US, a photo exhibit at the UNGA on World Environment Day (WED) and a concert in the Caribbean nation of Antigua and Barbuda.

Antigua and Barbuda’s Prime Minister, Gaston Browne, announced the concert will highlight efforts to tackle plastic pollution globally and feature internationally renowned artists and musicians. The concert will take place on 27 April, to coincide with Antigua Sailing Week. Browne also highlighted his country’s progress in eliminating single-use plastics, and called on “all nations to join us in banning the use of single-use plastics.”

Norway’s Deputy Permanent Representative at the UN, Mari Skåre, affirmed her country’s strong support for the initiative. She said Norway recognizes that plastic pollution is a “health problem for the oceans and for humans,” but stressed solutions exist, and this global campaign can play a role in “finding good, clean solutions for our common future.” [UN News Story] [UN Media Advisory] [Video Announcement] [UNGA President Website]