On World Environmental Day, OSCE PA environmental leaders highlight solutions for plastic pollution, preview Annual Session topics

COPENHAGEN, 5 June 2023 – Marking today’s World Environment Day, held under the theme of “Solutions to Plastic Pollution,” the leaders of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly’s economic and environmental committee joined with voices from around the world to demand real action on combating plastic pollution. In a joint statement, Azay Guliyev (Azerbaijan), Artur Gerasymov (Ukraine), and Gudrun Kugler (Austria) – the Chair, Vice-Chair and Rapporteur, respectively, of the OSCE PA’s Committee on Economic Affairs, Science, Technology and Environment – said the following:

“As we celebrate World Environment Day, we must acknowledge that the planet is facing one of its most severe challenges ever – the fact that 430 million tons of plastic are produced every year, the vast majority of which is cast aside as waste after only one use. Not only is this plastic waste polluting our oceans, but it is also harming human health and impacting our livelihoods, with an alarming number of micro- and nano-plastic particles being detected in nearly all ecosystems of the planet, and particles identified in various human organs, and even in our blood.

“Quite simply, the production of plastic is out of control and so is plastic pollution. The good news is there are many practical solutions that we can begin to implement in order to substantially reduce global plastic waste. We can start by committing to actions towards reducing unnecessary plastic production and incorporating circularity in plastics use, as well as supporting the transition to a new low-plastic economy. We must eliminate the plastics we do not need and innovate to ensure the plastics we do need are reusable and recyclable.

“This is something that can be most effectively accomplished by co-operating on the international, national, and subnational levels – and by mobilizing all stakeholders. Together we can make a difference.”

Guliyev, Gerasymov and Kugler highlighted the fact that plastic pollution and other environmental challenges will be debated by hundreds of parliamentarians at the OSCE PA Annual Session in Vancouver from 30 June to 4 July. Among the other top priorities that the OSCE PA will tackle in Vancouver include reducing greenhouse gas emissions and addressing the challenges caused by climate change, improving waste and water management, facilitating the clean energy transition and building a green economy, and drastically reducing air, water and soil pollution, which endangers ecosystems and harms human health and biodiversity.

The report that Rapporteur Kugler has prepared highlights, in particular, the role of technology in hydrogen and other fuels, reducing pollution, including carbon capture and storage, direct air capture, and nature-based solutions. The rapporteur also emphasizes that environmental protection must be a global effort, stressing that it must not create new poverty traps or leave anyone behind – not poor people nor countries in transition which have a high need for affordable energy. She also emphasized that the global competitiveness of the European market must be protected.

In addition to Kugler’s general committee resolution, a supplementary item sponsored by Canadian parliamentarian John Aldag will be considered at the Annual Session dealing specifically with plastics, urging greater international scientific co-operation on microplastic and nanoplastic pollution.

To read more about the OSCE PA's upcoming Annual Session, please click here.

Visit the UN's World Environment Day website here to learn more about ways to beat plastic pollution.



Nat Parry

Head of Communications and Press

Office: +45 33 37 80 55
Mobile: +45 60 10 81 77
Email: [email protected]

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