On Friday, as the United Nations Environmental Assembly (UNEA) came to a close, British Deputy High Commissioner Susie Kitchens joined fellow attendees for a moment of remembrance which paid tribute to those who died in the Ethiopian Airlines disaster.
Despite this tragedy, the summit went ahead in Nairobi and after marathon talks with nearly 200 ministers, member states pledged to “significantly reduce” single-use plastics over the next decade.
According to the summit’s final statement, UN member states pledged to “address the damage to our ecosystems … including by significantly reducing single-use plastic products by 2030.”
The move will seek to curb the use of disposable plastic products such as bags, cups, cutlery and drinking straws.
Around 500 billion disposable plastic bags are used worldwide each year, while one million plastic drink bottles are purchased every minute, the UN said.
In addition, 8 million tons of plastic leak into the ocean every year, threatening marine life and smothering reefs.
Ms Kitchens was joined in the British delegation by the Deputy Director International at Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), Cheryl Case.
Through her Twitter account Ms Kichens said it was: “Vital to combine security with conservation to tackle the illegal wildlife trade” which the British government is helping to fight through its IWT Challenge Fund.
The Illegal Wildlife Trade Challenge Fund provides support to projects around the world that are tackling the illegal wildlife trade and has allocated around £18.5 million to 61 projects.
While attending the summit, Ms Kitchens, who is the UK Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Kenya, took the opportunity to discuss the importance of marine litter.
In a video posted to Twitter, she discussed the issue alongside the Fipflopi boat which was built using discarded plastic found on the East African country’s coastline.
During the summit, the Deputy High Commissioner also met with Upendo School founder Dr Masibo Lumala for a discussion on how to integrate ICT in Kenyan schools.