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Indonesian Government and Partners Announce Next Steps to Tackle Plastic Pollution

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The Government of Indonesia, in partnership with the Global Plastic Action Partnership (GPAP), today announced new measures in the country’s ambitious national plan to reduce marine plastic debris by 70%, reduce solid waste by 30%, and to handle 70% of solid waste by 2025.

The Coordinating Ministry of Maritime Affairs and the Ministry of Environment and Forestry will work with local businesses and stakeholders and global partners to evaluate viable solutions for plastic pollution, develop an investment and action plan to reduce it, prioritize investment opportunities and advance a roadmap for implementation.

Hosted by the World Economic Forum, GPAP aims to redesign the global “take-make-dispose” economy as a circular one. The partnership has been designed so that Indonesia’s approach to address plastic pollution can act as an example to be adapted and implemented in other countries.

Indonesia’s Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs, Luhut B. Pandjaitan, whose ministry has been at the forefront of the region’s battle with plastic waste, said that if the plan is achieved, his children and grandchildren will be able to enjoy pristine waters around Indonesia that are rich in biodiversity and free of plastic pollution.

“We want to see the next generation in Indonesia having a much better quality of life and health than our generation today,” he said. “Through collaboration and strong teamwork with the World Economic Forum, we can mobilize public, private and community support to safeguard the richness of our marine biodiversity for our children and grandchildren.”

GPAP is working with stakeholders across the plastics ecosystem to co-develop a roadmap of actionable solutions. Successful implementation will depend on the quality of underlying data and analysis.

To support this, PEW Charitable Trusts and SYSTEMIQ will develop an analytical model for data-driven decision making. A team in Jakarta is collecting local waste management data and building a model that evaluates solutions that can contribute to the 70% reduction target. These solutions include:

– Reducing overpackaging

– Innovating recyclable plastic material

– Substituting materials

– Increasing recycling rates

– Improving waste collection rates.

For each solution, the model will estimate the investment needed, timeline, environmental footprint and greenhouse gas emissions, as well as the impact on people’s lives.

In Indonesia, the work of the partnership will be chaired by Minister Luhut. The partnership engages with business, civil society and government organisations from a range of sectors, including: Chandra Asri Petrochemical, Coca-Cola Amatil, the Coordinating Ministry of Maritime Affairs, Dow, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, Evoware, Giti Group, the Indonesian Business Council for Sustainable Development (IBCSD), Indorama Synthetics, the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Indofood CBP Sukses Makmur, PepsiCo, Nestlé, The World Bank, and WWF Indonesia.

“Communities, entrepreneurs and government agencies across Indonesia are stepping up in the battle against plastic pollution,” said Dominic Waughray, Head of the Centre for Global Public Goods, Member of the Managing Board, World Economic Forum. “The uniqueness of the Global Plastic Action Partnership is to show to the world that through fast, concerted, science-based multistakeholder action, we can fix these seemingly intractable problems and preserve our natural heritage for future generations.”

Kristin Hughes, newly appointed Director of the Global Plastic Action Partnership said, “I am thrilled to be joining this important initiative. Thanks to the leadership of Indonesia’s government and the innovative approach of local industry, other countries will be able to learn from their experiences to turn commitments into actions.”

The effort is the first national partnership of GPAP, a public-private partnership launched last year to translate political and corporate commitment to address plastic pollution into tangible strategies and investible actions plans. These include, for example, the efforts of the Commonwealth Clean Oceans Alliance, the Ocean Plastics Charter as well as the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.

GPAP is hosted by the World Economic Forum with support from the governments of Canada and the United Kingdom as well as global companies including The Coca-Cola Company, Dow, PepsiCo and Nestlé. It is an initiative of the Platform for Accelerating the Circular Economy (PACE) and The Friends of Ocean Action.

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Hands-on e-waste management training

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photo: UNIDO

Over 30 representatives of 13 Latin American countries and international experts have gathered to learn and share experiences on e-waste management, from system design to health impacts.

The second Expert Meeting on the Effective Management and Disposal of E-waste in Latin America under the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants was convened by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), in cooperation with the Ministry of Health of Costa Rica and with co-financing from the Global Environment Facility (GEF).

The UNIDO-GEF project assists 13 countries with tackling the e-waste challenges in the region, with annual expert meetings providing an opportunity for the participating countries and institutions to get together and share knowledge and experiences.

Following the project launch in Quito in March 2018, this year’s Expert Meeting kicked off on 18 March with Project Steering and Technical Committees meetings and a series of presentations by local recycling companies and UN partner organizations.

The E-waste Academy for Managers (EWAM) on 19 March saw a series of panel discussions and group sessions on topics ranging from legal aspects of e-waste management to logistical issues such as collection and transport of e-waste. The Academy is the first of four that will be co-ordinated by the United Nations University (UNU).

The EWAM-Managers Edition is a global forum and training event for stakeholders involved in the practical design and implementation of e-waste management solutions, offering a platform to exchange best practices, discuss existing challenges among practitioners and support better-informed decision-making. It is just one of the examples of capacity-building activities that form part of the project alongside awareness-raising, e-waste policy and regulation advice and financial advice, among other activities.

With presentations from renowned international e-waste experts on plastics, financing and more, the Academy also featured a number of practical sessions with participants learning how to dismantle electrical equipment, including a visit to the Global Electric Electronic Processing plant.

“As the issue of e-waste continues to represent a threat to both the global environment and human health, activities like this are essential for harmonizing and strengthening regional cooperation and knowledge exchange,” affirms UNIDO project manager, Alfredo Cueva.

Currently, the world produces approximately 50 million tonnes of e-waste a year – the equivalent of the total weight of all the commercial airliners ever made. This figure is predicted to rise to 120m tonnes by 2050.

UNIDO collaborates with a large number of organizations on the project, including national governments other organzsations and local e-waste recyclers, SC and BC regional centres, the International Labour Organization (ILO), the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), and the World Health Organization (WHO), as well as various other partners, such as Dell, RELAC and the International Solid Waste Association (ISWA).

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Education critical to ensure future of forests, and reverse their destruction

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The UN drew attention to the vital role that forests play in addressing some of the world’s greatest environmental challenges on Thursday, and the importance of tackling the issues that threaten them, such as deforestation, and land degradation.

The UN drew attention to the vital role that forests play in addressing some of the world’s greatest environmental challenges on Thursday, and the importance of tackling the issues that threaten them, such as deforestation, and land degradation.

Marking the 2019 International Day of Forests, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) launched new forestry education initiatives aimed at raising awareness amongst young people about their sustainable use and conservation, and some of the major challenges related to forestry education.

Despite the well documented and important role that forests play in keeping the environment healthy and helping to address global challenges such as climate change through the capture of greenhouse gases, many people have little knowledge of the many ways that forests support human life, or the grave dangers many forests face.

As more and more people move to cities, becoming oblivious to the plight of rural areas, says the FAO, this problem is growing.

In a statement, José Graziano da Silva, FAO’s Director-General, said that “education is a critical step to safeguarding natural resources for future generations. It is essential for children to learn about forests at an early age.”Education, however, can challenge and reverse this situation. The FAO has identified deficiencies in the way that forest-related issues are taught, describing forestry education as generally “inadequate,” and failing to address emerging challenges. The opportunities to study forestry at all levels, the Organization says, are few and far between.

As part of the global celebrations marking the day, the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) held a special event at UN Headquarters in New York on Thursday, featuring remarks by senior UN and government officials, as well as a panel discussion and general discussion by Member States and UN bodies.

Opening the event, Mr. Hossein Moeini Meybodi, Senior Forest Policy Officer at the UN Forum on Forests, was positive about the effect that education, awareness raising measures and improved forestry management can have on the future of forests: “It is our sincere hope that by sharing positive messages on solutions that exist for forests, and the communities that they support, we can learn from each other and together create a greener, more sustainable world for future generations.”

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Tackling e-waste challenges in Latin America

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photo: UNIDO

The issue of e-waste continues to represent a threat to both the global environment and human health, and it shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. E-waste is the quickest-growing waste stream in the world.

Currently, the world produces approximately 50 million tonnes of e-waste a year. This equals the total weight of all the commercial airliners ever made. This figure is predicted to rise to 120m tonnes by 2050.

From 17–22 March, political and technical representatives from 13 countries across Latin America and e-waste experts from around the world will meet in San Jose, Costa Rica, to discuss how to tackle the e-waste landscape in the region.

The second Expert Meeting on the Effective Management and Disposal of E-waste in Latin America under the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants is being convened by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), in cooperation with the Ministry of Health of Costa Rica and with co-financing from the Global Environment Facility (GEF.

The meeting is part of a UNIDO-GEF project to assist 13 Latin American countries both technically and financially, advising on e-waste policies and regulations, suitable management technologies, business models, capacity-building, and awareness-raising.

At the national level, the project seeks to strengthen policies and train technical staff and government officials. At the regional level, the project seeks to harmonize key aspects of e-waste policies and strengthen regional cooperation and knowledge exchange. A key element of this year’s Expert Meeting is the E-waste Academy for Managers with the participation of renowned e-waste management experts.

UNIDO collaborates with a large number of organizations on the project, including the United Nations University (UNU), the International Labour Organization (ILO), the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), and the World Health Organization (WHO), as well as various other partners, such as Dell, Microsoft, RELAC and the International Solid Waste Association (ISWA).

The meeting coincides with Global Recycling Day on 18 March. Launched in 2018, the Day is an initiative of the Global Recycling Foundation to help recognize and celebrate the importance of recycling for preserving precious primary resources.

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