IUCN’s “Close the Plastic Tap” Programme at World Water Week

World Water Week, which has become the central hub for the global water community, is taking place in Stockholm, Sweden, from 25 to 30 September 2019. This year’s theme is “Water for society – Including all” and IUCN will be joining dedicated water specialists, decision makers, business innovators, and young professionals from all over the world to share knowledge and exchange ideas on how to protect water, one of our most precious natural resources.

Plastic Pollution on Koh Yao Yai, Thailand

With up to 10 million tons of plastic flowing into the ocean every year, plastic pollution has become one of the most unprecedented water-related challenges our planet faces today. IUCN will be on the scene this World Water Week through its global “Close the Plastic Tap” programme to showcase recent activities targeted at combatting the issue.

IUCN’s overall stance is that plastic pollution is a design, production, consumption and disposal challenge that must be tackled across the entire value chain. Even marine plastic pollution largely begins on land and therefore demands regional and local solutions tailored to the different sources and pathways of plastic to the ocean. With the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) by its side at World Water Week, IUCN hopes to foster new thinking and offer smart solutions and knowledge tools, which help tackle plastic pollution at the source.

Tuesday, 27 August 17.00-17.45, Room L7 | Side Event: Innovative Plastic Leakage Action: From Source-to-Sea

On Tuesday, 27 August, IUCN and Sida will be hosting the side event: “Innovative Plastic Leakage Action: From Source-to-Sea”. The aim of this session is to share IUCN’s “Plastic Leakage Action Assessment” approach. The methodology, which can be replicated elsewhere, is now being deployed in 13 locations across Africa, Asia, Oceania, the Caribbean and the Mediterranean. It provides national partners with critical data and tools to allow for informed decision-making and creation of much needed national action plans which provide a framework for countries to close the tap on plastic leakages. The approach also provides globally comparable and nationally-relevant plastic leakage baselines, evidence on which to set targets, and a means to track progress towards those targets.

The side event will be opened by Ms. Maria van Berlekom from Sida and moderated by Ms. Minna Epps, Director of IUCN’s Global Marine and Polar Programme. Ms. Berlekom and Ms. Epps will demonstrate how Sida and IUCN have been working together to promote circular economy in practice through support to local level actions that reduce or prevent plastic pollution at the source. The replicability and scalability of these actions will be highlighted as well as how circular economy principles, together with conservation, not only protect the environment and human health, but can also be profitable business undertakings.

A panel of experts from different sectors will then be invited to give reflections and take deeper dives into the different components of the approach. First, Mr. Feng Wang from UN Environment will describe “National plastic hot spotting from source-to-sea and shaping action: how to provide decision-makers with diagnostic on status and scope of plastic pollution”. Next, Mr. Beom-Sik Yoo, Senior Liaison Manager between IUCN and the Korean Ministry of Environment will present the “Different policy areas of the plastic value chain: lessons learned from Eastern and Southern Africa and Southeast Asia”.

These presentations will be followed by Ms. Lisa Ryden from TetraPak who will provide an update of how the industry is progresses in terms of “Circular economy for packaging: challenges and opportunities”. And last, Mr. Peter Manyara, Regional Project Officer from IUCN, will take the floor and showcase some “Effective local small-scale circular economy initiatives avoiding or reducing the amount of plastic leaking into the environment”.

Another highlight of the side event is the launch of the IUCN publication “Review of plastic footprint methodologies: Laying the foundation for the development of a standardised plastic footprint measurement tool”. This publication is a knowledge tool that will provide governments, industry and other important stakeholders a full review of existing and emerging methodologies that help identify the abundance, distribution, types, sources, pathways and sinks of plastic pollution at various scales (national, regional and global) for the very first time.

Based on the key findings of this report, IUCN is working closely with UN Environment and the scientific community to develop a best-in-class plastic hotspot methodology that can provide key stakeholders with data and analysis needed to inform their decision-making to reduce plastic leakage.

This side event is open to all interested parties at World Water Week. If you would like to find out more and register for this event, please visit this link: https://www.worldwaterweek.org/event/8676-innovative-plastic-leakage-action-from-source-to-sea

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To find more about IUCN's events at World Water Week, please visit this link: https://www.iucn.org/theme/water/events/world-water-week-stockholm-2019

Follow us @IUCN_Plastics and @IUCN_Ocean for live tweets from World Water Week! We will be using the following hashtags for the events: #WWWeek #SDG14 #plasticpollution #cleanplanet.                  

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