Cook Islands prepare for INC-4

According to the Cook Islands participants, regional meetings particularly for PSIDS is essential to assist countries that share common interests in protecting the environment against plastic pollution to gather and strategize for the upcoming INC 4 to develop an international legally binding instrument on plastic pollution including the marine environment.
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Two staff from the National Environment Service (NES) recently attended the Pacific Small Islands Developing States (PSIDS) meetings in Auckland, NZ from the 12th – 16thFebruary 2024. Facilitated by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Program (SPREP) and with funding assistance from Government of Australia, Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) hosted by the Government of New Zealand.

NES’s Senior Environmental Partnership Coordinator, Mii Herman and Environmental Legal Counsel, Roselyn Strickland were amongst the delegates from 14 Pacific Island countries that met in Auckland, New Zealand. The PSIDS participants gathered covering two pivotal meetings. First, to prepare for the fourth Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC 4) for the forthcoming negotiations in Ottawa, Canada next month. Followed by the GEF ISLANDS Pacific Second Project Steering Committee (PSC) Meeting designed specifically for designated Technical Focal Points to discuss the project.

According to the Cook Islands participants, regional meetings particularly for PSIDS is essential to assist countries that share common interests in protecting the environment against plastic pollution to gather and strategize for the upcoming INC 4 to develop an international legally binding instrument on plastic pollution including the marine environment. PSIDs are amongst those countries that do not produce primary plastic products but mostly affected by the impacts entailed from plastic products on land, air and marine.

All PSIDS countries including the Cook Islands anticipates towards a high ambitious international treaty to End Plastic Pollution. Part of the meeting discussions included national and regional positions relating to primary plastic polymers, chemicals and polymers of concern, problematic plastic products, production design, circularity and substitutes. Amongst the delegates were scientists and technical advisers to assist with expert advice and knowledge to support PSIDs in strategizing science based- informed interventions.

The regional meetings provided PSIDs members opportunity to highlight key areas that require improvements for the forthcoming INC 4 negotiations. It also allows members to discuss the strengths and challenges each encountered for the implementation of the GEF Islands Pacific Projects.

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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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