Yesterday, Lord Tariq Ahmad of Wimbledon, who is leading the British delegation at the Blue Economy Conference in Nairobi, chaired the first ministerial meeting of the Commonwealth Clean Oceans Alliance (CCOA) discussing how members can work together to support cleaner oceans.
During the meeting, Lord Ahmad launched the CCOA technical assistance programme for which the UK is committing 10 million pounds for Official Development Assistance (ODA) eligible countries to support the work of the alliance.
The Commonwealth Clean Oceans Alliance is an agreement between member states which have joined forces in the fight against plastic pollution.
Britain, together with CCOA joint chair Vanuatu, have called on other countries to pledge action on plastics, be this by a ban on microbeads, a commitment to cutting down on single use plastic bags, or other steps to eliminate avoidable plastic waste.
To drive this forward, the Prime Minister announced a £61.4 million package of funding during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting to boost global research and help countries across the Commonwealth stop plastic waste from entering the oceans in the first place.
Developing countries signed up to the Alliance are eligible to bid for partnership support to improve waste management systems and implement other initiatives to stop plastic waste from reaching oceans.
Tweeting about the meeting, which was also attended by UK High Commissioner Nic Hailey, Lord Ahmad said there was “momentum building behind this important initiative to tackle scourge of plastic pollution, and implement the Blue Charter adopted at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting”.
Lord Ahmad continued this theme during an address to fellow delegates at the Sustainable Blue Economy Conference in which he said: “‘The United Kingdom as an island state is committed to being at the forefront of global action to promote the conservation and sustainable use of the ocean … an indispensable part of our global life support system.”
He also highlighted the UK’s commitment to ensuring ocean waters are clean, healthy, productive and diverse as well as protecting them through the Blue Belt programme and working to promote marine protected areas.