NES invited to speak at plastic subsidies dialogue

Halatoa Fua stated ‘this convening was very useful to review the draft text of the treaty relating to subsidies. The deep dive sessions with other member states and technical and legal experts, provided useful guidance that will help the Cook Islands delegation prepare for the negotiation of these specific articles at INC-4’.
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A convening organised by the Quaker United Nations Office (QUNO) and the International Union for Conservation Nature (IUCN) was held late last month in Italy. Halatoa Fua, NES Director, was invited to participate with a selected group of Government, academia and civil-society experts, to discuss elements of the full lifecycle of plastics such as primary plastic production and the subsidies associated with this production.

Plastics contribute to the triple planetary crisis emissions through climate change, habitat disturbance and biodiversity loss, and the contamination of air, land and water through pollution. Plastic production is increasing exponentially and is enabled by subsidisation by various Governments, hence contributing to the leakage of plastics to the environment.

Ahead of the Fourth Session of Intergovernmental Negotiations Committee (INC-4) to establish a legally binding treaty to end plastic pollution, the group focused discussions on areas relating to production, trade, subsidies and international law. Primary plastic polymers and other sustainable production elements are a key part that needs to be reflected in the treaty draft agreement, to ensure the full lifecycle of plastics is addressed. From sourcing and extraction of fossil fuel for plastic production, to the midstream stage of chemical processing and designing of plastic products, to the downstream stage of managing waste.

The group discussed existing data on global plastic production and its subsidisation by various Governments. The global trade of plastics and application of the World Trade Organisation guidelines were key discussion points. 

At the conclusion of the convening, the group developed a framework for a roadmap to phase out plastic subsidies. The roadmap considered the current plastic trade landscape issues and challenges, the data evidence required to make impact analysis, inputs and archetypes of the different needs of developing and developed countries in plastic production and trade, and the timelines required to discuss at INC-4 and beyond.   

Halatoa Fua stated ‘this convening was very useful to review the draft text of the treaty relating to subsidies. The deep dive sessions with other member states and technical and legal experts, provided useful guidance that will help the Cook Islands delegation prepare for the negotiation of these specific articles at INC-4’.

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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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