Muchas gracias to you, the Government of Uruguay and UNEP for organizing this excellent meeting. I am honored to be here with you.
The world is drowning in plastic pollution. It is time for us to make fundamental changes for more sustainable, and healthier options so that we can end the scourge of plastic pollution as soon as possible.
We know this is an enormous challenge. As we work together to negotiate the legally-binding agreement we cannot allow ourselves to be divided or discouraged – we must hold on to the Nairobi spirit that got us this far.
We want to work with all of you to develop an agreement on plastic pollution to protect human health and the environment. We also recognize plastic has many vital applications in our live, such as the PPE masks that protected us during the pandemic. But there are so many wasteful and unnecessary uses of plastic that we can eliminate over time through better design and efficiency.
To be successful we need a shared goal – a North Star toward which we will all aim. The United States believes we need to set a high bar – to work to eliminate the release of plastic into the environment by 2040. It’s essential that we keep this “North Star” goal in view to help focus our actions.
To this end, we seek to develop an instrument that takes an ambitious, innovative, and country-driven approach to combating plastic pollution throughout its lifecycle.
This instrument should require each Party to develop and regularly update a national security plan that is measurable, fully transparent, and has the force of law behind it.
Each Party’s plan should set out nationally determined policies and legal measures for action throughout the lifecycle of plastic, in order to contribute to the objective of the agreement.
With a country-driven approach, Parties will be able to strengthen their domestic actions to build greater ambition and foster innovation over time. National action plans should be the key implementation tools in the agreement.
Transparency and accountability are essential. The agreement should provide for robust, transparent national reporting, that can inform how we implement solutions and measure our collective progress toward the agreement’s objectives. We must all be accountable to each other and the public, at home and around the world.
For countries most in need, we recognize that it will be important to have sufficient support, including capacity building and technical and financial resources.
We support a Multi-Stakeholder Action Agenda tied to the agreement that regularly brings together a diverse set of stakeholders to complement actions by Parties, mobilize technical and financial resources, and contribute meaningfully to the agreement’s objectives.
We must create a race to the top – where science, market incentives, and ambition lead us to better and better results over time.
Indeed, the United States supports holding a longer stakeholder forum with a high-level segment at INC-2. We want to hear even more from civil society and private sector leaders about their accomplishments and commitments to help us combat plastic pollution.
The U.S. delegation looks forward to working with all of you. We cannot delay. We must be determined. We need to listen. We have to ensure that those who are bearing the brunt of this pollution are at the table. We have a moral duty to keep our eyes on our North Star for future generations.