The Mirpuri Foundation participated in a high-level event, co-hosted by the Government of Kenya and UNEP, entitled “Ocean Action for Sustainability – Building a global vision to tackle plastic pollution”.

Viewed through a lens of “oceans”, the event explored the key challenges and practical solutions to the triple planetary crisis: climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution. Special emphasis was on marine litter and plastic pollution, as issues that require local and global action. Another objective was to invite East African Community countries to take part in the Clean Seas campaign. 

The event was moderated by UNEP and counted with renowned participants, including Susan Gardner (Director of the Ecosystems Division of UNEP), Peter Thomson (UN Secretary-General’s special Envoy for the Ocean), Carlos Manuel Rodriguez (CEO of the Global Environment Facility), Japhet Micheni Ntida (Principal Secretary of Kenya’s Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries), Ricardo Serrão Santos (Portugal’s Minister of Maritime Affairs), Raychelle Omamo (Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affair, Kenya), and Joseph Sokoline (Deputy Permanent Secretary, Vice President’s Office – Union and Environment, Tanzania).

Opening the webinar, Susan Gardner, Director of the Ecosystems Division of UNEP, said: “This is a time when we can join forces, to progress solutions and actions for both people and the planet”.

Kenya’s commitment and contribution to reducing marine litter and plastic across the lifecycle was showcased as an inspirational role model to be followed by other countries. Apart from having adopted a progressive legislation to reduce single use plastic bags, Kenya has also banned single-use plastics in protected areas and is an example when it comes to championing sustainable blue economy principles.

Ricardo Serrão Santos reflected on pollutants, the contamination by plastic and its biodiversity effects and threat to sustainability, highlighting that we need a healthy ocean and for that public awareness is important. Carlos Manuel Rodriguez gave his contribution by outlining the path to resilient oceans and resilient people.

Peter Thomson’s closing remarks focused on the challenges and opportunities in connecting economic, environmental and societal goals in holistic ocean policy. He stressed:

“The ocean is a reservoir for the majority of life on this planet. We must make peace with nature. This is the time to be peace makers”.

A discussion with the intention to build a global vision to tackle marine litter and plastic pollution closed the event.

This webinar builds momentum towards the fifth session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-5), taking place next week. There is a call for member states and stakeholders to recognize the magnitude and urgency of this issue, consider the identified options and to work cooperatively together to turn the tide on marine litter and plastic pollution.

 

Photo credit: Brian Yurasits