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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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Hyatt Launches Three Global Initiatives to Significantly Reduce Single-Use Plastics

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Hyatt Hotels Corporation is announcing a series of initiatives to reduce waste at Hyatt hotels globally, including introducing large-format bathroom amenities and reducing single-use water bottles by June 2021. The following initiatives will be introduced as soon as possible in properties around the world, and no later than June 2021:

Transitioning to large-format bathroom amenities to replace traditional small bottles of shower gel, shampoo, conditioner and lotion.

Increasing the number of water stations in key public spaces at hotels for guests who wish to refill reusable water bottles.

Serving water in carafes or other containers for meetings and events; bottled water will be available by request.

“At Hyatt, our purpose – we care for people so they can be their best – guides all business decisions, including our global sustainability framework, which focuses on using resources responsibly and helping address today’s most pressing environmental issues,” said Mark Hoplamazian, president and CEO, Hyatt. “Plastic pollution is a global issue, and we hope our efforts will motivate guests, customers and, indeed, ourselves to think more critically about our use of plastic.” 

These new initiatives represent a significant step in Hyatt’s global sustainability program and underscore Hyatt’s commitment to wellbeing. As promoted in Hyatt’s landmarks of wellbeing – Feel, Fuel and Function – proper hydration is essential to living well. Offering increased access to water stations across Hyatt hotels around the world will ensure guests will have hydration choices that align with both their wellbeing and sustainability priorities while traveling.  

Transitioning to large-format bathroom amenities and reducing single-use water bottles builds on Hyatt’s broader commitment to reduce disposables and select environmentally preferable options whenever possible, with the exception of when single-use bottles are needed for water quality reasons.

Other recent global initiatives have included removing plastic straws and drink picks and making alternative options available only by request at Hyatt hotels, and increasing the use of compostable, recyclable, or recycled content packaging for to-go food containers.

While these global efforts ensure guests – both leisure and business – will consistently have the option to avoid single-use water bottles while staying at Hyatt hotels, many properties have already been introducing additional efforts to create best-in-class solutions. Examples include:

In-house water bottling plants that reuse glass bottles and replace single-use bottles. Hotels with this solution currently include Alila Villas Koh Russey, Alila Manggis, Alila Ubud, Alila Villas Uluwatu, Alila Bangsar, Alila Jabal Akhdar, Hyatt Regency Addis Ababa, Hyatt Regency Delhi, Andaz Costa Rica Resort at Peninsula Papagayo and Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa.

Reusable bottles distributed to all guests at check-in at resorts such as Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa, Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort, Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa, Hyatt Ziva Cancun, Miraval Arizona and Miraval Austin.

Filtered water spouts installed in all guest rooms at Park Hyatt Istanbul – Macka Palas to provide fresh drinking water.

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Kenyan students learn about environmental law

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photo: UN Environment

In our globalized world, environmental threats require effective responses that promote peace, justice, development and the fulfilment of environmental and human rights. This is the responsibility of everyone; and we all have the right to be involved. We are all the leadership that the planet needs.

That’s what a group of Kenyan students were told in October 2019 when they participated in a lecture at the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) on international environmental law.

UNEP promotes a shared sense of environmental governance by building the capacity of those who affect the rules, policies and institutions that shape how humans interact with the environment.

UNEP experts spoke to students on basic governance and enforcement of international environmental law. International environmental law can involve many countries, as it does with the Paris Agreement, or a few countries, such as a regional environmental treaty. Sources of international environmental law can cover varied goals, such as the Convention on Biological Diversity, or be specific to a certain issue, such as the Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels. We need international environmental law because many environmental problems are transboundary, regional or global in scope, and solutions require international cooperation and the adoption of common standards.

The students and UNEP experts deliberated over the weaknesses and strengths of international environmental laws and discussed how students could get more involved in tackling the issues. Students described the lecture as very useful and said that they were challenged to think of new and different aspects of environmental law.

Topics discussed included the divergent responsibilities of various groups regarding environmental governance and biotechnology, the principle of common but differentiated responsibility, and plastic pollution and lessons from the plastic ban in Kenya.

To ensure that this learning continues outside the lecture theatre, the UNEP team shared learning resources with the students.

James Nyaro, a lecturer at the Kenyatta University, said on behalf of the institution: “You let us ask you questions… and responded to them comprehensively… and we cannot thank you enough.”

What should I know about international environmental law?

When states work together to create and implement international environmental law, great things can be achieved. The ozone layer is currently on track to heal completely in our lifetime and this will save two million people each year by 2030 from skin cancer. This success is due to international environmental law through the Montreal Protocol: an environmental treaty.

As everyone has the right to be involved in environmental management, we should all have a basic understanding of the laws that govern us. Countries are individually responsible for deciding and applying international environmental laws, yet the average citizen can be far removed from the processes involved in their development and implementation. As citizens, we should influence the progression and enforcement of international environmental law to ensure that it effectively tackles the issues we face. UNEP encourages everyone to learn what international environmental laws apply to their states through InforMEA. Knowledge is the first step towards creating environmental laws that work for us.

On 23 October 2019, postgraduate students from the School of Security, Diplomacy and Peace Studies at Kenyatta University were introduced to international environmental law by UNEP experts.

UN Environment

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Climate change: Scientists warn over impact on food security and oceans

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UN climate scientists presented MEPs with new evidence on how climate change is affecting food production and oceans.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is the United Nations body for assessing the science related to climate change. In August, it presented a report on climate change and land and in September one on the oceans and cryosphere in a changing climate. The reports are the latest scientific input for the UN climate summit COP25 to be held in Madrid in December.

The scientists behind the reports presented their findings to Parliament’s environment, development and fisheries committees on Wednesday 6 November.

Food production and climate change a two-way street

Professor Jim Skea told MEPs climate change was exacerbating land degradation, such as erosion and pollution, which in turn affects infrastructure and people’s livelihoods. Better land management can help tackle climate change but it must be complemented by other action, he added.

Dr Jean-François Soussana noted that the food system accounts for between a fifth and a third of all greenhouse gas emissions caused by humans. At the same time, climate change affects food security through declining crops of wheat and maize. He warned that in future the stability of our food supply would decrease further as the magnitude and frequency of extreme weather events increases.

Melting ice, rising seas

According to scientists, the rise in sea level is accelerating, mainly due to the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets melting faster.

Professor Hans-Otto Pörtner warned that in a business as usual scenario the sea level is estimated to rise about five metres by 2300. In addition, in warming oceans marine life has access to less oxygen and nutrients, putting food security at risk for communities dependent on seafood.

Pörtner added: “To minimise the severity of the impact of climate change, every bit of warming matters, each year matters, each choice matters, and most importantly, political and societal will matters.”

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