Minister without Portfolio, in the Ministry of Economic Growth & Job Creation, Senator the Honorable Matthew Samuda this morning, addressed the resumed 5th Session of the United Nations Environmental Assembly (UNEA) (5.2) which is now underway in Nairobi, Kenya.
In his remarks Minister Samuda acknowledged the work of the UN Environment Program, noting that “Given the global plastic crisis, the Government of Jamaica supports a proposal through UNEA 5.2 to establish an Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) on plastics, to guide and coordinate the implementation of UNEA resolutions in place since 2014”.
This, the Minister said, clearly sends the signal that Jamaica will build on its efforts to reduce plastic pollution under the Phased Ban on Single Use Plastics, which commenced in 2019, and will continue to work with the Multilateral Community to deal with the scourge of plastic waste definitively.
Minister Samuda also told the UNEA session that Jamaica remains committed to its targets for Environmental protection.
“In December 2020, Jamaica and 13 other countries, announced their commitment to a new Global Ocean Action Agenda which seeks to ‘achieve 100 per cent sustainable ocean management of areas within national jurisdiction guided by sustainable ocean plans by 2025, and to support a global target to protect 30 per cent of the ocean by 2030”, the Minister said.
Among the country’s international biodiversity and blue economy commitments, he said, is the declaration of a section of the Pedro Bank as a protected area, which is expected to be accomplished this year.
“The area comprises approximately 882 square kilometers, and contains significant biodiversity. Approximately 18.1 per cent of terrestrial and 13 per cent of marine areas will be under legal protection”, the Minister added.
Minister Samuda further noted that Jamaica is also actively engaged in restoration programmes for several key marine and coastal ecosystems, including mangrove forests, seagrass beds and coral reefs. He acknowledged the support Jamaica has received from its International partners for their support of its ambitious environmental goals and stated that Post Covid-19, all Governments must, through partnerships, chart a course of action that recognizes Nature at the Heart of Sustainable Development.
“While we collectively continue to grapple with the effects of the COVID 19 pandemic, we should also be mindful of the opportunities presented to make a transformative paradigm shift from unsustainable production and consumption patterns, to one that embraces the circular, green and blue economies”.
UNEA 5.2 serves as a platform for delegates from countries around the world, to gain consensus on multilateral environmental efforts surrounding biodiversity, climate, pollution, and food systems, among others.
Minister Samuda is also expected to deliver a statement on March 4, on the Occasion of the Special Session to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the creation of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).