ASSISTANT SECRETARY MEDINA: Good morning. I’m honored to join all of you here today. Thank you, Erin for your introduction.
And thank you to the World Wildlife Fund and to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation for putting together this event and for continually promoting ambition among our industry and NGO stakeholders.
Last Friday, Inger and I had the opportunity to talk to the American Chemistry Council and its members about plastic pollution. That conversation reinforced for me that momentum that is building across the globe to tackle the plastic pollution crisis. It’s a crisis that requires a proactive intervention from all segments of society. So, it goes without saying that I’m grateful for this group coming together to launch your business coalition.
I understand that you have more than 60 industry leaders pushing for ambitious actions under a future global agreement. And this is exactly the kind of grassroots coalition building that will determine the ultimate success of the new agreement.
Looking ahead, the United States government is excited to build on the success of the UNEA 5.2 meeting at upcoming intergovernmental negotiating committee meetings, which start in November.
As part of these negotiations, our team intends to promote country-driven national action plans – partnering with stakeholders like you – that contribute swiftly and concretely to the agreement’s objectives.
I believe we need to set a global goal or north star to drive our ambition, to end the discharge of plastic into the environment by 2040.
But it’s not enough to set ambitious targets. We need to make sure they are met.
And with that in mind, I’d like to take this opportunity to share a few considerations with all of you.
First, I believe we need to find innovative ways to encourage the shift to a more circular economy for plastics. We all know the INC is mandated to develop a global agreement that covers the full lifecycle of plastics. We will need industry, civil society, and other stakeholders to work with governments to support actions both upstream and downstream.
And governments need to understand what we can do, including under a new global agreement, to make the transition to a more circular economy easier.
Second, turning commitments into action will require enlarging the pool of available resources – for example, developing new financial tools and public-private partnerships.
To this end, the INC is mandated to develop a multi-stakeholder action agenda, in which I see groups like you playing an important role. In fact, the United States pushed for this element at UNEA because we want a clear and innovative way for stakeholders – in the private sector, civil society, sub-national governments, and academia – to bring ideas and resources to the table.
To catalyze these efforts, the State Department is exploring the possibility of launching a public-private partnership (P3) to drive global solutions on the circularity of plastics – to increase reuse and recycling and reduce how much plastic pollution gets into the environment.
Such a P3 would build on your enthusiasm and the work of other stakeholders to leverage action on plastic pollution.
Working together, I believe we have an opportunity and responsibility to confront the plastic pollution crisis and make a real difference for future generations. I’m excited to see what comes next with your coalition and the global agreement.
So, thank you for having me here today.