Indonesia Invites East Asia Summit Countries to Overcome Plastic Waste

Nusa Dua, Bali, 30 October 2018: The potential dangers of plastic waste pollution that are increasingly worrying and threatening the preservation of the environment and future generations are the main reason for the need to strengthen regional and global cooperation related to efforts to alleviate marine pollution by plastic waste.

The invitation was delivered by the Director General for ASEAN Cooperation, Jose Tavares, when conveying developments on Indonesia's initiatives and efforts in handling plastic waste at sea, at the Informational Breakfast Meeting on the sidelines of the Our Ocean Conference Meeting 2018 in Nusa Dua, Bali. The meeting was opened by the Deputy of Maritime Sovereignty Coordination, while the Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs conveyed a keynote speech. The meeting is one of the side events on the sidelines of the Conference which invites more than 140 countries and is attended by Heads of State / Government, Ministers, and Senior Officials on 29-30 October 2018.

During the meeting, Director General Jose Tavares stressed the need for intensification of the awareness act to encourage changes in people's behavior in reducing the level of ocean pollution caused by plastic waste. He also called for real action to be taken in an effort to reduce ocean pollution, mainly caused by plastic waste.

Also present as speakers were, Rosemary Paterson, Director General for Environment of New Zealand, and Yasuo Takahashi, Deputy Minister for Global Environmental Affairs, Japan.

"As the largest archipelagic country in the world and located between 2 oceans, Indonesia has become a meeting point for the movement of various ocean pollutants that are cross-border. Regional and global solutions are very necessary, given the movement of pollutant material has a broad scope and is not limited by certain regions of the country," said Director General Jose on this occasion.

During the discussion process, various thoughts and best practices from the participating countries of the East Asia Summit (EAS) have been carried out intensively and it is hoped that later it can become one of the considerations in discussing steps to deal with ocean pollution caused by future plastic waste, especially in the region.

Currently, the Government of Indonesia is formulating Rencana Aksi Nasional (RAN) / (National Action Plan) to combat plastic waste pollution which consists of 5 (five) main pillars, namely: behavior change; suppress land-based pollution; suppress sea-based pollution; suppress the production and use of plastic; and improve financing mechanisms, policy reform and law enforcement. It is hoped that through the implementation of the RAN, Indonesia will be able to reduce the pollution rate of marine plastic waste by 70% by 2025.

On this occasion, EAS participating countries expressed their appreciation for the commitment and concrete steps taken by the Indonesian Government in overcoming the problem of plastic pollution. Officially, New Zealand — as co-sponsor at the initiative of Indonesia and Japan was very impressed with Indonesia's approach by emphasizing the importance of behavior change and fostering understanding of the dangers of plastic pollution from an early age through campaigning and curriculum in schools. For this reason, EAS participating countries are ready to collaborate with Indonesia in an effort to reduce plastic pollution in the sea.

The general meeting discussed the follow-up contained in the EAS Leaders' Statement which will be agreed at the 13th EAS Summit in November of this year in Singapore. One of the follow-up actions of the EAS Leaders' Statement was Indonesia's initiative on the preparation of a Regional Plan of Action on Combating Marine Plastic Debris in the context of East Asia Summit (EAS) cooperation. (MoFA RI)