Environment Protection Agency participates in developing an International Legally Binding Instrument on Plastic Pollution

As mandated by the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) resolution 5/14, countries including Sierra Leone, are currently gathered to negotiate a global treaty to end plastic pollution, including in the marine environment. The ongoing Third Session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC-3) to develop an International Legally Binding Instrument on Plastic Pollution including in the Marine Environment is hosted by the Government of Kenya and is being held at the United Nations Headquarters in Nairobi.

Sierra Leone Delegation

The meeting started on the 13th of November, 2023, and will continue through the 19th of November, 2023. This is preceded by regional consultations on 12 November 2023. Also, as decided by the Committee at its second session, a preparatory one-day meeting was held on 11th November 2023 at the same venue.
Discussions to review the provisions of the Chair’s Zero draft in three contact groups have focused on the following key issues, among others:
• Consideration of the binding measures across the life cycle of plastics, including eliminating problematic plastics and avoidable plastic products and chemicals and performance towards circularity.
• Exploring various preferences to eliminate and phase out chemicals and polymers of concern and phase down problematic and avoidable plastic products.
• Preferences for Capacity building, technical assistance, and technology transfer,
The EPA-SL Team and Dr. Rose Mwebaza, UNEP Regional Director and Representative for Africa

Overall, there has been broad support for intercessional work on design criteria and the relevant sectors for which the requirements would apply. The member states swiftly moved through the opening segment on the first day. Opening speeches by the Executive Secretary of the INC Secretariat, the Chair of the INC, the Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme, and the President of Kenya underscored the existential threats of plastic pollution. They highlighted the crucial mission of the INC to create a treaty that eliminates harmful and high-risk plastics and ensures sustainable production, consumption, and management of the remaining plastics.

On the side of the meeting, the Sierra Leone delegation met with Md. Zainab Hawa Bangura, Director-General of the United Nations Office at Nairobi (UNON) and the Sierra Leone High Commissioner to Kenya on issues bordering support to influence opportunities within the UNON. She expressed the need to have a technical/provisional with a background in Environment and Programme Development to be based in the Sierra Leone High Commission Office in Nairobi, which will help attract funding and other support from the United Nations offices for the country.
The Sierra Leone delegates have also attended additional bilateral and side events such as;

The EPA-SL Team and Dr. Rose Mwebaza, UNEP Regional Director and Representative for Africa

1. Round Table Meeting hosted by the Commonwealth Clean Ocean Alliance aimed at discussions concerning the latest advancements in combating plastic pollution and strategizing the next steps for the Blue Charter Action Group on marine plastic pollution.
2. Engagements with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and Grid Arendal on continuing to empower Sierra Leone on negotiating skills for the plastic pollution Treaty. There were also discussions on collaborative research on plastics and other areas.
3. Meeting with the Regional Director and Representative of the Regional Office for Africa, Madam Rose Mwebaza, to discuss possible partnership and capacity-building support to the country. We agreed on some action points, including sending a formal request to the division on the country’s needs for possible support.
4. Meeting with the representative of the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD), Mr. Semund Haukland and discussed the AFRIPAC’s effective capacity building for global plastics treaty in Africa support and Sierra Leone’s current and future needs concerning the plastic treaty and the plastic litter assessment.

For More Information Contact:
External Relations and Advocacy Department
92 Dundas Street, Freetown
info@epa.gov.sl, epasierraleone@gmail.com,
+23288542660, www.epa.gov.sl

Meeting With Madam Zainab Hawa Bangura