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A United ASEAN Against Plastic Pollution

17 October 2023

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Jakarta, 17 October 2023: The ASEAN Conference on Combatting Plastic Pollution (ACCPP) 2023 was hosted by the Indonesian government in collaboration with the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA) and the Indonesia National Plastic Action Partnership (NPAP), among other partners and contributors, with much enthusiasm and success in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Approximately 300 participants representing the governments of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Member States (AMS) as well as other countries, the private sector, civil society organisations, academia, and media convened at the Shangri-La hotel to attend the event. It was organised to create a platform for participants to share knowledge and experience, explore potential efforts, and contribute to formulating recommendations for tackling the issue of plastic pollution in the ASEAN region. The full-day event unfolded with a series of plenary and breakout sessions, discussing topics ranging from enabling conditions to sustainable financing to address plastic pollution.

Professor Tetsuya Watanabe, President of ERIA, gave the opening address to launch the event. Prof Watanabe said one of the challenges to tackling plastic waste pollution in the ASEAN region is the presence of data gaps. To address this, ERIA is collaborating with the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the Institute for Global Environmental Studies (IGES) to compile the latest information on plastic production, usage, and waste generation in each AMS in a Regional Plastics Outlook, which is expected to be completed by late 2024.

Reo Kawamura, Director of ERIA’s Regional Knowledge Centre for Marine Plastic Debris (RKC-MPD) and Michikazu Kojima, Senior Advisor to the President on Environmental Issues at ERIA, respectively, provided keynote remarks and presentations during the breakout sessions.

The event invited participants to view plastic pollution not just through the environmental lens, but also through legal and economic perspectives to complement existing efforts. A common theme discussed throughout the event was the importance of addressing the issue throughout plastic’s circular lifecycle, instead of just dealing with it as a waste management problem. The event offered a particularly important opportunity for stakeholders from across the ASEAN region to find common consensus and a united voice in preparation for the upcoming Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC-3) meeting, which will be held in November this year in Nairobi, Kenya, where nations are expected to convene to develop an internationally legally binding instrument to address the issue on a global scale.

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