26 September 2023

FINLAND: Ministry backs plastics pollution plan

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Finland’s Ministry of the Environment is to throw its weight behind a United Nations effort to reach a realistic agreement on controlling plastics pollution.

The United Nations Environment Assembly, the highest environmental decision-making body at the UN, is debating the issue at a meeting in Nairobi, Kenya.

The Assembly is to discuss several draft resolutions, three of which relate to plastic pollution and marine plastic litter.

State Secretary of the Ministry of the Environment, Terhi Lehtonen said one of the key objectives of Finland and the European Union was for member States to begin negotiations on a legally-binding global plastics agreement.

“Finland aims for an ambitious agreement covering the full life cycle, sustainable production and consumption of plastics, and the circular economy,” Ms Lehtonen (pictured) said.

“The competing proposals are more focused on the end of the plastics life cycle and on waste management, the voluntary reduction of single-use plastics and the prevention of marine litter,” she said.

Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, Emma Kari said millions of tonnes of plastic ended up in the seas every year.

“The seas and marine plastic pollution know no borders,” Ms Kari said.

“That is why we need a global agreement and common goals to stop plastic pollution,” she said.

Member States are to also discuss launching negotiations on setting up and deciding on the tasks of a science policy panel on chemicals, waste and pollution.

Ms Kari said the panel should draw up scientific reports to support decision-making and raise new topics of global concern, as well as find solutions for them.

“In addition, Finland seeks to strengthen the scientific role of the UN Environment Program,” she said.

The Finnish delegation is made up of representatives from Ministries, research institutes, civil society organisations and the Finnish Innovation Fund, Sitra; it also includes a youth delegate.

Helsinki, 28 February, 2022

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