Africa vows to end plastic pollution

The resumed 18th session of the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN) closed with environment ministers from 54 African countries adopting a series of decisions and key messages to tackle climate change, the loss of nature, pollution and waste, including the elimination of open dumping and burning of waste. The conference took place from 12 to 16 September 2022 in Dakar, Senegal.

The President of AMCEN and Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development of Senegal, H.E Abdou Karim Sall, emphasized that the session comes in the wake of a regional health, food, energy and financial crisis that particularly impacts Africa, denoting urgency to the conference’s theme of “securing people’s well-being and ensuring environmental sustainability in Africa.”

On pollution, ministers committed to:

  • eliminate open dumping and burning of waste in Africa and to promote use of waste as a resource for value and job creation. They called on development partners to support African countries to better monitor and reduce methane and black carbon emissions associated with waste.
  • improve awareness on the risks that antimicrobial resistance poses to human health and sustainable development in Africa. They also called for urgent and collective action to prevent and minimize adverse impacts of antimicrobial resistance.

The President of the Sixth UN Environment Assembly, Minister of Energy Transition and Sustainable Development of Morocco, H.E Laila Benali said: “We recognize the crucial role that AMCEN is playing in leading and advocating for Africa’s positions and interests in the areas of environment and sustainable development, at all levels including through its active involvement in global negotiations on Multilateral Environment Agreements. We need to strengthen the role of AMCEN as a platform for implementation.”

Ministers also committed to make the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment stronger and more effective, including through strengthening collaboration with the African Ministers of Finance and Economic Planning.

“Decisions by AMCEN have provided a map the continent can now use to chart a new course, one that boosts human well-being and ensures environmental sustainability for generations to come,” said Ligia Noronha, UN Assistant Secretary-General representing the UN Environment Program (UNEP). 

“The time has now come for African nations to use this map by implementing the decisions this body has made. It is time to transform AMCEN from a decision-making body into a platform for action and implementation.”

Photo credit: G J Whitby/Pixabay

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