WELLINGTON: Plastic Diplomacy for Island Nations
Monday, 5th August 2019 5:30pm - 6:30pm
RHLT2, Rutherford House, Victoria University, 23 Lambton Quay, Wellington

SPEAKER: Mr Stephen Harris, Special Representative of the Commonwealth Clean Ocean Alliance (CCOA)

Plastic pollution in the ocean has emerged rapidly as a global concern, fuelled by publicity such as Sir David Attenborough's Blue Planet series, and predictions that marine plastic will outweigh fish by 2050 on current trends. South Pacific countries rate plastic pollution as their second-biggest environmental threat after climate change, and in New Zealand 72% of those polled in a Colmar Brunton 'Better Futures' survey published this year listed plastic pollution as a concern - more than for any other issue.

Much of the response is being led by communities, NGOs and businesses, while national governments and global bodies increasingly are seeing the value of joining forces to combat a challenge that respects no borders. The Commonwealth Clean Ocean Alliance (CCOA) established last year is an example, galvanising action across the 53-nation grouping and driving collaboration towards greater collective impact.

New Zealand diplomat Stephen Harris has been seconded to lead CCOA's international engagement for two years. In this talk he will summarise some key findings from his first nine months in the role and discuss what it will take to make a lasting impact in this evolving area of global diplomacy.