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As prepared

Minister Strandhäll, thank you for your inspiring remarks and for co-hosting this discussion.

We are here not only to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the birth of the global environmental movement, but also to reaffirm the crucial decisions we made at the Fifth UN Environment Assembly in Nairobi.

Those decisions will help fight climate change, combat pollution, address biodiversity loss, and enhance sustainable development through increased circularity.

UNEA 5 set the course for important work to advance sustainable development for the next several decades.

The flagship outcome was monumental: the resolution to launch international negotiations on a global agreement on plastic pollution.

Fifty years ago, plastic was considered “a revolutionary substance.”  It helped with medical advancements and product delivery.  Advertisements praised plastic as a savior of elephants and tortoises.

Now we know that the very characteristics that made it revolutionary are destroying the planet.  Most plastics never go away, and the world is drowning in it.

Plastic pollution is a global crisis.  We must turn the tide and end plastic pollution now.  Countries, consumers, and producers are ready to act to curb plastic pollution.

It is time to leverage investment, innovation, and global action to curb this global scourge.


We made constructive progress during UNEA, and we look forward to working together on negotiations toward a binding global agreement.

There is no one-size-fits-all solution to this problem.  Our new global agreement must provide flexibility for countries to contribute to a common objective through innovative and ambitious national action plans reflecting country-driven approaches.

This will lead to greater ambition by enabling countries to choose how they contribute to a common objective, taking on national and sub-national measures to address plastic waste.

We are fortunate to have strong interest from diverse stakeholders.  We need to ensure that everyone shoulders responsibility for combating plastic pollution.

Therefore, a multi-stakeholder action agenda should also mobilize technical and financial resources from civil society and the private sector to combat plastic pollution across its lifecycle.


We are taking action to encourage ambition and country-driven commitments in the intergovernmental negotiating process, which started this week in Dakar.

The United States is leveraging assistance funding, including 75 million dollars for global, national, and local programs to combat plastic pollution and help countries around the world address this important challenge.

I am happy to announce today that we are providing close to seven million dollars to UNEP Secretariat to work with certain developing countries on capacity building as they develop national action plans and good practices to address plastic pollution.

The challenge before us is significant because the supply chain for plastic products and materials is complex, touching many aspects of our lives and economies.


The production of plastics is increasing.  We are also seeing increased levels of plastic pollution around the world.  Eight-to-12 million metric tons of plastic pollution reach the ocean every year, and that level is projected to increase almost threefold by 2040.

We need transformational change at a global level, and this will require substantial financial and technical support to help countries take actions.

We must address the entire lifecycle of plastics – not only improving waste management and recycling downstream, but also incentivizing innovation in product design and manufacturing upstream.

The discussion this afternoon on addressing the challenges and opportunities of financing for plastics circularity is vitally important.

Distinguished Ministers and colleagues, thank you for joining us.  I look forward to hearing your ideas as we navigate the path toward enhanced financing for plastics circularity to bring about the transformative change we need to ambitiously make progress on ending plastic pollution.

U.S. Department of State

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