Cook Islands joins HAC meeting to prepare for the fourth plastic treaty negotiation session

Halatoa Fua stated ‘the HAC working sessions are invaluable opportunities for the Cook Islands to understand common priorities amongst ambitious member countries, and to represent the needs of the Cook Islands and the Pacific.
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The Cook Islands was represented by the NES Director Halatoa Fua, at a technical working session by the High Ambition Coalition (HAC) to End Plastic Pollution in Kigali, Rwanda this month. The session is to prepare the 64-country member coalition for the Fourth Session of negotiations for the legally binding treaty to end plastic pollution, which will take place in Ottawa, Canada, from 23 to 29 April 2024.

Plastic pollution is expected to triple by 2050, hence a global effort is required to reduce and restrain the production and consumption of plastic products to sustainable levels. The business-as-usual scenario is untenable as the plastic pollution crisis continues to spread to all corners of the earth, and has devastating consequences on biodiversity, pollution and climate change.

The HAC session enabled participants to discuss common priorities and exchange views on key aspects of the revised zero draft of the treaty text. The group strategized on approaches and common pathways to ensure the treaty remains ambitious and effective to address a global crisis that has been lingering since the industrialisation era.

Dr Jeanne d’Arc Mujawamariya, Minister of Environment for the Republic of Rwanda, opened the session by stating her country’s commitment to curb plastic pollution by banning single use plastic products. She emphasised that despite some of the most progressive laws her country has established to address the plastics crisis, no one country can tackle it alone and we must work as a global community to end plastic pollution.

The HAC focused discussions on key elements of the treaty like sustainable production levels, sustainability criteria and eco-design, and means of implementation to include finance, capacity building and knowledge transfer. The strategies discussed by a strong-hold 64-member country group was effective and clear on its way forward leading into the fourth session of negotiations. The HAC Ministers will meet next week in Nairobi at the margins of the United Nations General Assembly (UNEA-6). The Honourable Tereapii Kamana, Associate Minister for NES, will attend this Ministerial meeting.

Halatoa Fua stated ‘the HAC working sessions are invaluable opportunities for the Cook Islands to understand common priorities amongst ambitious member countries, and to represent the needs of the Cook Islands and the Pacific. While the timeline for the negotiations is ambitious, the Cook Islands is committed to ensuring an effective treaty addresses the many issues formed from unsustainable plastic production and consumption, and to ensure the needs of the Cook Islands and small islands developing states are incorporated’.

The HAC’s common ambition is to end plastic pollution by 2040: https://hactoendplasticpollution.org/.

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The National Environment Service is established to protect, conserve and ensure the Cook Islands environment is managed sustainably. The agency is headed by a Director with delegated powers to carry out the functions of the Environment Act 2003.

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