Liberia through the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has endorsed a historic resolution seeking to forge a legally binding agreement to combat plastic pollution worldwide.
The decision was made at the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-5) in Nairobi, Kenya on Wednesday under the theme ‘Strengthening Actions for Nature to Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals’ where Liberia is represented by a high-level delegation headed by Prof. Wilson K. Tarpeh, Executive Director of the EPA.
According to a release, 175 countries including Liberia agreed to start negotiations on the international agreement that calls for an immediate action to end the plastic pollution crisis.
Nature plays a pivotal role to humankind survival. Plastic is now one of the most ubiquitous manmade compounds on earth. It permeates all levels of the environment from the deep ocean trenches to small micro plastics in our guts and blood stream. Plastic waste is not only an environmental issue for Liberia. It is a major socio-economic development challenge which impacts biodiversity, infrastructure, tourism and fisheries livelihoods.
The resolution seeks to mitigate and potentially eradicate plastic pollution could not have come at an opportune time. UN members are now tasked to develop an over-arching framework for reducing plastic waste globally. World leaders described the move as one of the world’s most ambitious environmental action since the 1989 Montreal Protocol, which phased out ozone-depleting substances.
In support, Conservation International (CI) has committed to support Liberia through the EPA to address marine plastic pollution in Liberia in compliance with this UNEA resolution. The support is to be funded by the Swedish Embassy in Liberia/Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA).
Last year, CI commissioned Liberia’s first comprehensive research study on marine plastics pollution that recommends a range of evidence-based strategies to prevent or reduce the entry of plastics into the marine environment. The study was conducted under the Blue Oceans Program (BOP) that is supported by SIDA through the Swedish Embassy in Monrovia.
The United Nations Environment Assembly brings together representative of the 193 members states of the UN, businesses, civil society organizations and other stakeholders that agreed on policies to address the world’s most pressing environmental challenges. UNEA -5 is an opportunity for member states to share best practices for sustainability.
It aimed to create momentum for governments to build on and catalyze impact on multilateral environmental efforts to protect and restore the natural world on which our economies and societies depend.