PALACE APRIL 2018: The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting
takes place in London and Windsor from 16 to 20 April 2018.
GOV PRESS RELEASE 15 APRIL 2018 - COMMONWEALTH UNITES TO END
SCOURGE OF PLASTIC
Prime Minister Theresa May announced today that New Zealand, Sri Lanka and Ghana have joined the UK and Vanuatu-led Commonwealth Clean Oceans Alliance – an agreement between member states to join forces in the fight against plastic pollution.
Britain, together with CCOA joint chair Vanuatu, will call on other countries to pledge action on plastics, be this by a ban on microbeads, a commitment to cutting down on single use plastic bags, or other steps to eliminate avoidable plastic waste.
To drive this forward, the Prime Minister has also announced a £61.4 million package of funding to boost global research and help countries across the Commonwealth stop plastic waste from entering the oceans in the first place.
When it comes to our seas and oceans, the challenge is global so the answer must be too.
Through this ambitious alliance we will build on the UK’s world-leading microbeads ban and 5p plastic bag charge to harness the full power of the Commonwealth in pushing for
global change and safeguarding our marine environment for future generations.
Developing countries signed up to the Alliance will also be eligible to bid for partnership support to improve waste management systems and implement other initiatives to stop plastic waste from reaching oceans.
In recognition of the passionate response of the UK public to the issue, from later this year the Department for International Development will also match pound-for-pound public donations to tackle the issue of plastic waste in the world’s oceans and
MAY SPEECH: Your Majesty, Your Royal Highnesses, Secretary-General, Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen.
I am extremely proud to be welcoming you all to London – the first full Heads of Government meeting here in almost forty years.
I want to begin by expressing my gratitude to Prime Minister Muscat and his team:
thank you for your incredible hard work. You represent a Commonwealth truth, that the size of a country does not limit its ambition and impact.
I hope that over the coming days and months we can
build on the work you have begun as we forge a future for our common good.
Over many decades this organisation has brought together nations young and old, large and small, to celebrate our common bonds and to work to our mutual benefit.
There have been difficulties, successes, controversies. But I believe wholeheartedly in the good that the Commonwealth can do.
And this week as young people from our many nations gather and contribute their views, our responsibility as leaders is to ensure their voices are heard, and to build a Commonwealth that we can be proud to hand on to the next generation.
For in the Commonwealth we have an incredible opportunity.
An opportunity to show just what can be achieved through co-ordinated action and co-operation, to seize the possibilities open to us as member countries, and together, to take on some of the 21st century’s biggest questions.
How we support our most vulnerable member states as we tackle climate change and improve the health of our oceans, creating a more sustainable Commonwealth?
How we develop through trade, pushing back against protectionism, for a more prosperous Commonwealth?
How we respond to threats to the rules based international order and from cyber-attacks, creating a more secure Commonwealth?
And how, in all this, we advance those common values which our organisation has always stood for – democracy, human rights, tolerance, and the rule of law – so that we establish a fairer Commonwealth?
These are problems nations cannot solve alone. But by working together, we can make a real difference.
Over the past three days, we have seen the power of the Commonwealth in action at the Forums for
business leaders, young people, women, and civil society.
These discussions have demonstrated the vibrancy and creativity of our organisation – focusing on issues such as improving trade, youth unemployment, education and health – all of which have the potential to transform people’s lives.
And I am looking forward to taking these issues further with the heads of government over the next two days.
Finally, on behalf of all of you assembled here in Buckingham Palace, I want to offer
my heartfelt thanks to Your Majesty, Head of the Commonwealth.
This week you have opened your homes to us – here in London and in Windsor. Over many years you have been the Commonwealth’s most steadfast and fervent champion.
You have been true to the deepest values of the Commonwealth – that the voice of the smallest member country is worth precisely as much as that of the largest; that the wealthiest and the most vulnerable stand shoulder to shoulder.
You have seen us through some of our most serious challenges.
And we commit to sustaining this Commonwealth, which you have so carefully nurtured.
For your service, for your dedication, for your constancy – we thank you.
The scourge of plastics is a global environmental challenge – and one that overwhelmingly impacts the livelihoods and health of the world’s poorest people.
We are joining forces with our Commonwealth partners, bringing together global expertise to stop plastics waste from entering oceans – and by matching pound-for-pound the UK public’s passionate response to the issue, we can make our shared ambition for clean oceans a reality.
The Department for International Development will also support research into solutions to reduce manufacturing pollution, and carry out waste management pilot programmes to help tackle the waste from cities that too often ends up in the world’s
rivers. This will protect the livelihoods and health of those that are affected by
plastic pollution – while also providing new jobs in some of the world’s poorest countries.
Furthermore, the UK will commit £25 million to help researchers approach the scourge of marine plastic waste from a scientific, technical, economic and social perspective. It will also put £20 million to prevent plastic and other environmental pollution from manufacturing in developing countries.
To further support the work of the CCOA, £16.4 million will be used to improve waste management at a national and a city level.
The Commonwealth Clean Oceans Alliance will work in partnership with businesses and NGOs, including the World Economic Forum, Sky,
Coca-Cola Company, Fauna and Flora International and
WWF to share expertise and experience and push for global change.
Jeremy Darroch, Chief Executive of Sky, said:
In January 2017 we launched Sky Ocean Rescue to raise awareness of ocean health and to encourage the public to remove single-use plastic from their lives by making simple, everyday changes.
We strive to be a responsible business and believe through our own behaviours that we can affect real change. So I am delighted to support the UK and Vanuatu Governments’ launch of the Commonwealth Clean Oceans Alliance and we look forward to working together to find innovative solutions that will make a significant difference to the health of our oceans for current and future generations.
Welcoming the announcement, Mark Rose, Chief Executive of Fauna & Flora International said:
Urgent and collective action is now needed to reduce the levels of plastic reaching our oceans. Fauna & Flora International applauds the leadership of the UK and Vanuatu and other Commonwealth nations in committing to act together to reduce these threats under the Commonwealth Clean Oceans Alliance.
We are committed to actively support this initiative, and to help to achieve these ambitious aims, building on our long-standing programme of work on marine plastics and our networks across more than 20 Commonwealth countries
The Commonwealth Clean Oceans Alliance will drive action in line with the Sustainable Development Goal 14 to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, and will also sign up to and implement a number of international agreements to protect our oceans, such as the UN Clean Seas campaign, the Global Ghost Gear Initiative and the London Protocol.
SUPPORTING THE CLEAN OCEANS ALLIANCE
Poor waste management is a leading cause of plastics in the ocean. This is why the Prime Minister has announced that all developing country members of the Commonwealth Clean Oceans Alliance can bid for DFID partnership support from a new £5 million facility to improve waste management systems and implement other initiatives to reduce plastics waste.
Up to five developing countries will be supported to help them meet the ambitious political commitments they have made by signing up to the Commonwealth Clean Oceans Alliance.
Defra will also be investing £2.4m to support the development of a new public-private delivery platform to help advance the ambitions set out by the CCOA.
Commonwealth waste management pilots
The Prime Minister has also announced today that DFID will provide up to £3m to support pilot programmes in 2-3 Commonwealth developing countries, to help tackle the waste from cities that too often ends up in the world’s oceans and rivers.
This will focus on how to reduce the waste that ends up in the oceans and protect the livelihoods and health of those that are affected by plastic pollution – while also providing new jobs.
The UK will also be supporting six countries across the Commonwealth to develop national litter action plans focusing on plastics entering the oceans, through Defra’s £6m Commonwealth Litter programme.
Tackling manufacturing pollution
The Sustainable Manufacturing and Environmental Pollution programme will tackle the problem of pollution and environmental degradation generated by manufacturing processes in DFID priority countries across Africa and Asia.
Over five years (2018-2023) DFID will back a £20 million research programme to generate evidence and practical solutions to address the problem of environmental pollution including plastics from manufacturing sources – a major contributor to waste creation.
The UK public has shown passion and energy in the fight against global plastic waste – which is why from later this year, the UK Government will match pound-for-pound public donations on helping developing countries to reduce plastic waste.
Open to bids from charities from 30 April 2018, the latest £20 million round of UK Aid Match funding will be focused on the priorities agreed by our Commonwealth partners: disability; health; women’s empowerment; youth employment; prosperity; modern slavery; girls’ education; and oceans and plastics.
For the first time, the public will be able to double their donations to charities tackling the scourge of plastics waste in the world’s oceans.
Government promises £61 million to tackle scourge of ocean