AFRIPAC: strengthening 5 countries' commitments to a UN Plastics Treaty
As the world moves towards an international, legally binding instrument on plastic pollution, IUCN and GRID-Arendal partner in a new project: AFRIPAC, "Effective Plastic Treaty Capacity Building for Africa." This project aims to empower five African nations´ negotiating skills for a strong Global Treaty on plastic pollution. AFRIPAC is generously supported by Norad.
This new two-year project, launched in January 2023, will empower negotiators and increase collaboration in Cabo Verde, Guinea Bissau, São Tomé and Príncipe, Senegal, and Sierra Leone. IUCN and GRID-Arendal will support these Small Island Developing States and developing countries for increased capacity in the global negotiations.
This project aims to empower the five countries to:
- Ensure global commitments to end plastic pollution are strengthened,
- Improve National action plans and policies, and
- Align global policy to the national and regional instruments to prevent marine litter
Building capacity for effective action
Developing countries face unique challenges and often lack specialised skills to negotiate these types of treaties. To be effective participants in the UN global plastics treaty negotiations, Small Island Developing States and developing countries will need to have access to the most coherent and relevant knowledge and data to support their positions.
"We look forward to working with IUCN and stakeholders to strengthen knowledge and negotiating capacity towards an international legally binding instrument on plastic pollution.”- Clever Mafuta, Head of Waste & Marine Litter Programme, GRID-Arendal
Strengthening the negotiation skills of national representatives is key to ensuring that the international, regional, and national legal and policy frameworks relevant to the prevention and management of plastic pollution, including marine litter, are implemented well. Their understanding of the negotiations processes, national obligations, and needed guidance for national action planning will be linked to the proposed global instrument’s focus on improving circular economy and waste management. The project will remove barriers to facilitate effective action.
“IUCN’s AFRIPAC project aims to provide a comprehensive approach to build negotiation capacity in West Africa. We are focusing on knowledge transfer, building a strong understanding of the regime interaction between the Treaty and existing international treaties, and working with the countries to enhance their national action plans."- Dr. Alexandra Harrington, Chair, Plastic Pollution Task Force, IUCN World Commission on Environmental Law (WCEL)
There are two main outcomes desired for the project: (1) Target States and stakeholders, including women, will play an active role in the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) negotiation processes; and (2) Plastic pollution mitigation processes of Target States will integrate Circular Economy principles in Waste Management practices. The proposed legal instrument includes Circular Economy and Waste Management as main action points to mitigate and manage plastic pollution.
“Over the past decades GRID-Arendal, in partnership with UNEP, has worked with several African nations, regional seas conventions and other stakeholders. We recently published several marine plastics pollution outputs such as the “African Marine Litter Outlook” and “Preventing and Managing Marine Litter in West, Central and Southern Africa”, providing an overview of marine litter and circular economy activities on the African continent.- Clever Mafuta, Head of Waste & Marine Litter Programme, GRID-Arendal
Global Treaty to end plastic pollution, including in the marine environment
In March 2022, 175 nations agreed to develop a legally binding agreement to end plastic pollution by the end of 2024, prompting a major step towards reducing plastic pollution. The resolution addresses the full lifecycle of plastic, including its production, design and disposal. Negotiations for the Treaty will have to strike a balance between an effective legal, regulatory and scientific agreement for tackling plastic pollution and ensuring political support and participation by all States and sectors.
"Highlighting the roles of the circular economy, waste management, and the plastic lifecycle from a legal perspective are integral to this work as we move toward an international legally binding instrument to prevent plastic pollution globally.” - Dr. Alexandra Harrington, Chair, Plastic Pollution Task Force, IUCN World Commission on Environmental Law (WCEL)
With generous support from the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad), IUCN and GRID-Arendal will build capacity for negotiators in Cabo Verde, Guinea Bissau, San Tome and Principe, Senegal, and Sierra Leone as part of the ongoing processes to create an international legally binding instrument on plastic pollution, including in the marine environment.