Jakarta, 22 October 2021: Professor Hidetoshi Nishimura, the President of the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA), presented at the 17th ASEAN Plus Three Environment Ministers’ Meeting (EMM) on 22 October 2021. The online event was held via video conference by Indonesia.
In her opening remarks, the Chairperson of the meeting, H.E. Dr Siti Nurbaya Bakar, the Minister of Environment and Forestry of Indonesia, recalled the 16th ASEAN Plus Three Environment Ministers Meeting (EMM), which took place in Cambodia in 2019.
She reminded the delegates that one of the salient outputs of the meeting was the establishment of ERIA’s Regional Knowledge Centre for Marine Plastic Debris (RKC-MPD) to support ASEAN+3 countries in their fight against marine plastic pollution. She expressed her hope for the RKC-MPD to keep playing an important role to support the region with significant contributions in the coming years.
Speaking during the ‘Highlights of the Progress of Activities under ASEAN Plus Three’ session, Professor Nishimura reported on marine plastic debris actions taken by the RKC-MPD and highlighted the following points:
- The mission of the RKC-MPD aligns perfectly with the recently announced ‘ASEAN Regional Action Plan for Combating Marine Debris in the ASEAN Member States (2021-2015)’. Further, ERIA is committed to supporting the strategies set forth by the Regional Action Plan.
- ERIA’s RKC-MPD ‘Private Sector Platform,’ launched in 2021, is an online forum that welcomes companies from the ASEAN+3 region to showcase their business practices that reduce marine plastic pollution. Through this activity, ERIA aims to connect private sector initiatives with sound policymaking.
- ERIA has recently established ‘ERIA’s Experts’ Working Group on Marine Plastic Debris.’ Through the collaboration with experts from a diverse set of disciplines, ERIA intends to create relevant knowledge that is conducive to science-driven policymaking.
- Finally, through the activities of the Regional Knowledge Centre, ERIA aims to contribute to broader goals set out in the Framework for Circular Economy for the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC).
H.E. Mr Dato Lim Jock Hoi, Secretary-General of ASEAN, expressed his appreciation to ERIA for advancing the objectives of the ‘ASEAN Regional Action Plan for Combating Marine Debris in the ASEAN Member States (2021-2015)’.
He underscored the importance of collaboration between the ASEAN Secretariat with ERIA and RKC-MPD, and commended the finalization of the Framework for Circular Economy for the ASEAN Economic Community which will have a crucial contribution to marine plastic prevention.
Concerning marine plastic pollution, Malaysia has announced that the country is launching the ‘Marine Plastic Litter Action Plan 2021-2030,’ addressing mismanaged plastic litter while also recognizing the need for the measures to take into account local contexts and specificities.
Additionally, Brunei Darussalam, the ASEAN chair country represented by H.E. Mr Dato Erywan Pehin Yusof, the Second Minister of Foreign Affairs, shared the recent publication of the ‘ASEAN Regional Action Plan for Combating Marine Debris in the ASEAN Member States (2021-2015).’ Furthermore, he emphasized the importance of raising public awareness and convening a range of different stakeholders. In particular, the reduction of single-use plastics and packaging, which often end up in the ocean, is a critical issue.