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May 24, 2023
Parliamentarians shared experiences and progress made in their countries’ legislative frameworks in a meeting with specialists on plastic pollution

The virtual meeting “Historic opportunity: The role of parliaments in ending plastic pollution” was held on May 24, 2023. This gathering was organized by ParlAmericas, in coordination with the Circular Economy Coalition of Latin America and the Caribbean, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation (EMF), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).

The meeting aimed to build on the momentum generated in March of last year by the adoption of the United Nations resolution to end plastic pollution and create a legally binding international agreement by 2024. With over 100 people in attendance, the meeting agenda included presentations by parliamentarians and specialists from the hemisphere and allowed participants to explore the importance of promoting legislative initiatives and complementary collaborative actions to reduce the production and consumption of plastics and develop a circular economy with a gender and equity perspective.

Welcoming remarks were delivered by the Honourable Senator Rosa Galvez (Canada), President of the Parlamericas Parliamentary Network on Climate Change, and Piedad Martín, Deputy Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean of UNEP.

Member of the Chamber of Deputies Graciela Camaño (Argentina) moderated the round table where parliamentarians shared experiences on developing laws and making progress in their countries’ legal frameworks to reduce the production and consumption of plastics. Senator Paulina Nuñez (Chile), Member of the Chamber of Representatives Juan Carlos Losada (Colombia), and the Honourable Orlando Habet (Belize), Minister of Sustainable Development, Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management, made interventions in this discussion.

Additionally, the Honourable Senator Dessima Williams (Grenada), President of the Senate, moderated the panel of specialists who addressed the socio-economic benefits of eradicating plastic pollution and implementing a circular design around plastics.

Honourable Senator Rosa Galvez (Canada), President of the Parlamericas Parliamentary Network on Climate Change

“Eradicating plastic pollution requires recognizing that the generation and proliferation of waste is a consequence of the unsustainable design, production, and consumption practices of the ‘buy-use-toss’ model. There is now an opportunity to remedy the negative impacts and inequalities that have resulted from this model. As parliaments, we have an important role to play in putting an end to plastic pollution: ensuring that local laws are aligned with international standards, holding comprehensive debates that include and keep public policy objectives in perspective, and providing oversight of national laws and budgets.”