Collaborating at United Nations Environment Assembly

By Jo Royle

Solving a problem as big, complex and transboundary as plastic pollution requires a similarly big, complex and transboundary solution.

Despite many individual environmental organisations and governments getting the scientific, technological, industrial and lifestyle thinking right, our efforts – so far – have been piecemeal and therefore relatively ineffective.

To create this global alignment, we need to provide the right evidence and tools for governments to develop multi-year public policy strategies. And to do this, we need to be able to understand a series of tough question, such as:

  • What are the problem plastics for a country or region?
  • How much waste are we actually producing?
  • How does plastic ‘leak’ out of waste management streams?
  • And where in our terrestrial, aquatic or marine environment does it leak to?

Common Seas is part of a growing group of expert organisations that are answering these questions, while also developing the tools for government to use this new knowledge to create optimal policies.

We recently attended the Fourth UN Environment Assembly, where we continued to build partnerships with other organisations working on this issue. By collaborating, we can make sure end-users can easily navigate the different tools and select the right approach that meets their needs. Common Seas joined a panel alongside Pew, IUCN, UN Environment, ISWA, and GIZ, supporting delegates to understand the respective projects and how they differ and complement each other.

We are also acting in an advisory capacity to support two of these projects – the Pew Global Roadmap (which you can read about here), and the Plastic Leak Project.

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