ASSISTANT SECRETARY MEDINA: Good morning, everyone. I’m so honored to join you today, and I want to thank Sue and others at Pew, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the Minderoo Foundation, and CDP for inviting me to be part of this event.
I also want to say broadly, how much I appreciate your ongoing efforts to understand and take on the global crisis of plastic pollution. And it’s clear to me that we won’t be able to turn the tide on plastic pollution unless we fully capture its pervasive nature and do everything in our power to make people aware of the scope of the problem and generate buy-in.
Buy-in from countries, from industry, from civil society, from communities, and from individuals.
Many of you in this room are instrumental in building awareness of the problem and pushing for ambitious actions to tackle the problem.
And it’s my sincere hope that our decision in Nairobi, earlier this year, to negotiate a global agreement to end plastic pollution will further catalyze and invigorate efforts across the spectrum of stakeholders.
To that end, my team is actively preparing for the first intergovernmental negotiating committee meeting in November.
Our overarching goal in November and beyond is to facilitate an agreement that emphasizes the importance of national action plans that set out ambitious country-driven actions. This approach, moreover, will reinforce the role of stakeholders like you in implementing such a global agreement.
And to be successful, I believe we need to set a global goal or north star to drive our ambition. We should aim 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 to do that, we need to be able to measure where we are and where we are going.
So, I’m excited to learn more about your global environmental reporting and disclosure system and how it could connect to a global agreement, national actions, and stakeholder commitments.
As our discussion proceeds, I think it would be useful to keep a few considerations in the back of our minds.
First…transparency is paramount. It’s difficult to get a full sense of how much plastic is produced and how much ends up as pollution on our land and in our ocean. If we can start to make that picture clearer, we can have a better sense of how to steer our efforts to reduce plastic pollution.
Second, better data and reporting can lead to greater accountability. Many companies have made voluntary commitments and are working to improve the recycling and reuse rates of their products. But without transparent data and reporting, it is hard to see how well they are meeting those commitments.
I’m also interested in your perspectives on how such a disclosure system could help support our shift to a more circular approach for plastics. That includes what you need from governments.
Finally, I’d like to connect efforts like your disclosure project to the multi-stakeholder action agenda that is outlined in the UNEA resolution’s negotiating mandate.
The United States led the way for a multi-stakeholder action agenda to be included in the negotiations for a global agreement. We want to make sure stakeholders have a clear and innovative avenue to bring ideas and resources to the table.
I also want to make sure any such action agenda builds on existing stakeholder efforts like the Plastic Pacts.
With that in mind, I’m looking forward to hearing more about your ideas on reporting and disclosure. And I hope you will bring those to the first multi-stakeholder forum taking place on Saturday, November 26, right before the first INC meeting in Uruguay.
As Lewis Carroll once said, “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.” With better data and greater data transparency, we can find the right road and make this world a better one for all.
Thank you for having me. Now let me turn to Ms. Angelique Pouponneau, Advisor on Ocean and Climate to the Chair of AOSIS, who will moderate the panel.