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September 22, 2023 (ARTA, Djibouti): The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) yesterday concluded a regional Validation Workshop on the Inventory of Pollutants (Plastic and Chemical) in the IGAD Coastal Member Countries of Djibouti, Kenya, Somalia and Sudan.

The purpose of the four-day workshop was to validate the inventory of pollutants (Plastic and Chemical), involving the stakeholders from the four IGAD Coastal countries. Representatives of the concerned IGAD Member States’ environment ministries, the national focal points for the IGAD Blue Economy Project, researchers and pollution experts, especially from marine research institution such as Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute (KMFRI) and the Study and Research Centre of Djibouti (CERD) attended the workshop.

At the opening session, on behalf of the Director of the Agriculture and Environment Division, the Programme Manager for Sustainable Environment Protection, Dr Eshete Dejene, said: “IGAD Member States have approximately 6,960 kilometres of coastline accounting for approximately 22.8% of the African total. The coastal states of IGAD have an Exclusive Economic Zone of about 1.1 million square kilometres whose productive potential remains largely under-utilised”, He further pointed out that these productive coastal zones are affected by an accelerating plastic and chemical pollutions in the region and outside.

In his opening speech, Dini Abdallah Omar, Secretary General at the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development of the Republic of Djibouti, recalled that Djibouti is championing Blue Economy approach. He stressed that combating the consequences of plastic pollution required comprehensive measures including waste management best practices designed around the “reduce, reuse and recycle” approaches, public awareness campaigns and regulatory interventions.

‘In view of the various factors that give rise to plastic pollution mentioned above, it is imperative to seek sustainable solutions to this present and future challenge, such as developing projects to install a recycling plant and discuss the enforcement of the decree banning single use plastic bags”, he added.

At the conclusion of the workshop, the Inventory of Pollutants (Plastic and Chemical) Assessment Regional and National Reports were validated and recommendations suggested by the stakeholders. The development of an IGAD regional framework to combat plastic pollution, which is a transboundary problem, was the key recommendation from this validation workshop. Also, the use of media to create awareness on the livelihood and ecosystem challenges of plastic pollution was one of the strong suggestion by participants.

The Intergovernmental Authority on Development, with the financial support of the Government of Sweden through Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), is implementing a project titled Enhancing Blue Economy in the IGAD Member States for Biodiversity Conservations and Livelihood Diversification.

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