March 03, 2022

Joint Statement from Senators Menendez, Sullivan, Whitehouse on the UN Environment Assembly’s Establishment of Committee to Tackle Global Plastic Pollution

Senate sponsors of the Save Our Seas 2.0 Act praise action at the U.N. Environment Assembly to approve the beginning of formal negotiations on an international agreement to combat global plastic pollution

WASHINGTON — U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and U.S. Senators Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), the three lead sponsors of the enacted Save Our Seas (SOS) 2.0 Act, issued the following joint statement on the United Nations Environment Assembly’s approval of formal negotiations on a new international agreement to combat plastic pollution:

“The approval of negotiations for a new international treaty on plastic pollution is a major victory to protect the health and well-being of our planet. We are very pleased to see this major step forward in the global fight against the marine debris crisis and look forward to collaborating with partner countries to reach a final agreement.

“Excess plastic pollution continues to threaten coastal economies, from New Jersey to Rhode Island to Alaska, and we are committed to doing our part to enhance global cooperation so the United States is part of the solution to mitigate plastic pollution and its harm to marine life. We appreciate the input of stakeholders throughout the negotiation process.

“As was made clear in the resolution adopted by the United Nations, the decisions that we make to combat global plastic pollution not only impact specific communities today; they will help shape the planet for generations to come. The threat of this crisis is real, and the opportunity that will come with a new understanding of our challenges and our shared responsibilities is real.”

Representatives from over 175 nations came together for the UNEA 5.2 in Nairobi for a three-day assembly under the theme: Strengthening Actions for Nature to Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. In addition to a global agreement to address plastic pollution, the Assembly also addressed other urgent issues like the need for sustainable food systems and ensuring the low-carbon recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Find a copy of the UNEA 5.2 decision here.

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