Asean eyes solutions to marine plastic pollution

24/6/2022 3:50:00 PM

The World Bank has approved a US$20 million grant to support Asean member states’ efforts to reduce marine plastic pollution.

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The World Bank has approved a US$20 million grant to support Asean member states’ efforts to reduce marine plastic pollution.

PHNOM PENH (The Phnom Penh Post/Asia News Network): Amid growing concerns about marine plastic debris, the Asean Secretariat has pledged to continue collaboration with all member states and partners to accelerate operations.

The South Korean Mission to Asean on June 23 also hosted an online forum on the issue, and suggested a pathway to an international legally binding agreement, in collaboration with the Regional Knowledge Centre for Marine Plastic Debris and the Economic Research Institute for Asean and East Asia, both co-organisers of the forum.

The event aimed to raise awareness of the alarming situation and the urgent need to address the issue internationally. It also assessed prevention and mitigation efforts undertaken by different stakeholders and received recommendations from them, and formulated policy recommendations to advance the UN Environment Assembly’s resolution which called for a legally binding treaty.

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At the same time, the World Bank has also approved a US$20 million grant to support Asean member states’ efforts to reduce marine plastic pollution.KUALA LUMPUR: Senior Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein ( pic ) attended the 16th Asean Defence Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM) to seek closer defence ties between the member countries.Special Rapporteur on Human Rights, Tom Andrews, also called on U.A PHNOM PENH/KUALA LUMPUR (June 22): Myanmar's military-appointed defence minister joined a meeting of his Southeast Asian counterparts on Wednesday, despite pressure from some countries in the regional bloc and pro-democracy groups to exclude the junta from such gatherings.

The South Korean Mission to Asean on June 23 also hosted an online forum on the issue, and suggested a pathway to an international legally binding agreement, in collaboration with the Regional Knowledge Centre for Marine Plastic Debris and the Economic Research Institute for Asean and East Asia, both co-organisers of the forum. The event aimed to raise awareness of the alarming situation and the urgent need to address the issue internationally. The Malaysian Defence Ministry, in a statement, said the meeting is a significant platform for Asean defence ministers to further strengthen the spirit of Asean togetherness especially in the context of defence cooperation in the region, reported Bernama. It also assessed prevention and mitigation efforts undertaken by different stakeholders and received recommendations from them, and formulated policy recommendations to advance the UN Environment Assembly’s resolution which called for a legally binding treaty. The 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is divided over how to deal with Myanmar, where the military overthrew an elected government last year and has since led a brutal crackdown on opponents. Ekkaphab Phanthavong, deputy secretary-general of the Asean Socio-Cultural Community, said at the event that the forum provided a platform for knowledge exchange and partnerships in line with the priority areas identified in the regional action plan laid out by member states. According to the statement, the Asean-China Defence Ministers’ Informal Meeting and the Asean-Japan Defence Ministers’ Informal Meeting were also held alongside the ADMM. “The Asean secretariat is working collaboratively with member states and partners to speed up operations. Cambodian Defence Minister Tea Banh said the Myanmar general's presence indicated a unified bloc.

It is time for us to join hands and turn our policies and plans into action,” he said. Hishammuddin, along with other Asean defence ministers, are also scheduled to pay a courtesy call on Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen after the two meetings are over. "After one year of a lack of progress, let's rethink this approach by adding a strategy to the implementation of that approach," he said, adding ASEAN countries should heed Malaysia's call for more action. The forum also offered an opportunity to exchange insights related to green recovery efforts and the rebuilding of the region’s economy, he added. South Korean ambassador to Asean Kwon Hee-seog said that what is needed at this critical juncture is a more coherent and streamlined policy which can integrate existing efforts at the national, regional and global level, while taking into account the full lifecycle of plastics. “Malaysia has always stressed that the SAC must immediately implement the things that have been agreed in the Five-Point Consensus (5PC) to find a solution to the political crisis in Myanmar,” read the statement. “As we are living in a world where plastics are ubiquitous, our efforts to tackle the issue should be practical and effective,” he said. Countries are also divided over communicating with the NUG, an alliance of anti-junta groups in hiding or in self-imposed exile, which Andrews called a"legitimate entity". The World Bank said in a statement that South-East Asia has emerged as a hot spot for plastic pollution because of rapid urbanisation and a rising middle class. Among the matters discussed was to further enhance defence cooperation in carrying out peacekeeping operations around the world, especially the involvement of women peacekeepers in Asean. All 10 Southeast Asian defence ministers were also due to meet their Chinese and Japanese counterparts virtually later on Wednesday, Tea Banh said.

The economic costs were significant, with the damage to key blue economy sectors in Asean member states alone estimated at $2.1 billion in 2015. Article type: free.. The statement said the World Bank will work with the Asean Secretariat and its partners to strengthen policies and regulatory frameworks governing the production and use of plastics in South-East Asia. The project aims to reduce plastic consumption, increase recycling, and minimise leakages to prevent land- and sea-based marine plastic pollution. It will also support coastal and blue economies, which are particularly affected by marine litter and its effects on several key sectors – fisheries, tourism and shipping. (Reporting by Rozanna Latiff; Writing by Kanupriya Kapoor; Editing by Martin Petty) Article type: free.

“We are pleased to help the Asean bloc work together to reduce marine plastics pollution and address the negative effect plastics can have,” said Manuela Ferro, World Bank vice-president for East Asia and the Pacific. Article type: free .