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#beatplasticpollution

Combatting plastic pollution in the Caribbean

This weekend, representatives from the Norwegian government went to Antigua & Barbuda to co-host the festival Play it Out together with the UN.

The festival makes up a part of a wider engagement in the region with the objective of shedding a light on marine littering and unnecessary use of plastic. Headliners included Ashanti (USA), Machel Montano (Trinidad), Bomba Estereo (Colombia), Rocky Dawuni (Ghana), St. Lucia (USA), Nico & Vinz (Norway), Robin Schulz (Germany), Ricardo Drue (Antigua & Barbuda), Claudette Peters (Antigua & Barbuda) and Kanneh-Masons (Antigua & Barbuda).

Norwegian duo Nico & Vinz. Photo: Ragnhild Simenstad
Norwegian duo Nico & Vinz. Photo: Ragnhild Simenstad
Norway’s Ambassador to Cuba and the Caribbean, Ingrid Mollestad, committing to climate action. Photo: Ragnhild Simenstad
Norway’s Ambassador to Cuba and the Caribbean, Ingrid Mollestad, committing to climate action. Photo: Ragnhild Simenstad

Representatives from Norway included Sveinung Rotevatn (State Secretary from the Norwegian Ministry of Climate and Environment), Mona Juul (Norway's Ambassador to the United Nations in New York) and Ingrid Mollestad (Norway’s Ambassador to Cuba and the Caribbean). During their visit to the Caribbean island, the delegation worked alongside, among others, the Prime Minister of Antigua & Barbuda, Gaston Browne, the Minister of Health, Wellness and the Environment of Antigua & Barbuda, Molwyn Joseph, Minister of Blue Economy Barbados, Kirk Humphrey, President of UN General Assembly, María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés and Palestine’s Ambassador to the UN New York, Riyad Mansour.

Prime Minister Antigua and Barbuda Gaston Browne, President of UN General Assembly, María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés, Norway's Ambassador to the United Nations in New York, Mona Juul, og Palestine’s Ambassador to the UN New York, Riyad Mansour. Photo: Ragnhild Simenstad
Prime Minister Antigua and Barbuda Gaston Browne, President of UN General Assembly, María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés, Norway's Ambassador to the United Nations in New York, Mona Juul, og Palestine’s Ambassador to the UN New York, Riyad Mansour. Photo: Ragnhild Simenstad

In addressing the issue of marine littering and plastic pollution, State Secretary Rotevatn highlighted that though situated in very different parts of the world, the Caribbean island states and Norway all experience the consequences of plastic pollution and climate change. In Antigua & Barbuda, hurricanes have left people homeless and infrastructure devastated, while in the far North, the ice keeps melting at an alarmingly high speed. In April, the Nordic Ministers of the Environment issued a call for a new global agreement to combat marine litter and microplastics. Now, the CARICOM countries can be the second region worldwide joining that call. Antigua & Barbuda started the cooperation by signing a declaration on marine littering.

You can read the statement from Prime Minister Gaston Browne here. 

The Minister of Blue Economy in Barbados, Kirk Humphrey, Norway’s Ambassador to Cuba and the Caribbean, Ingrid Mollestad and Norwegian State Secretary Sveinung Rotevatn. Photo: Ragnhild Simenstad
The Minister of Blue Economy in Barbados, Kirk Humphrey, Norway’s Ambassador to Cuba and the Caribbean, Ingrid Mollestad and Norwegian State Secretary Sveinung Rotevatn. Photo: Ragnhild Simenstad

Through music, community and international collaboration, the UN, Antigua & Barbuda and Norway have put plastic on the agenda. The topic continues to be lifted in the UN, and starting today, the UN headquarters in New York will host the photo exhibition Planet or Plastic. Both Norway and Antigua & Barbuda will participate in the opening of this exhibition by National Geographic. Together we can fight for clean oceans and #BeatPlasticPollution!