First Secretary at the Antigua and Barbuda Mission to the United Nations, Ms. Asha Challenger has been elected by acclamation to the position of Vice President of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee on Plastic Pollution, which is seeking to develop a binding legal agreement that will see to the end of plastic pollution across the globe.
She serves in this role on behalf of Small Island Developing States(SIDS) and has also been tasked with the responsibilities as Rapporteur for the Committee.
Ms. Challenger won unanimous approval for the post during the second session of the INC which concluded in Paris, France on Friday with a clear mandate for it to begin work on preparing a draft treaty ahead of its next session set to take place in Nairobi, Kenya, this November.
Antigua and Barbuda has been at the vanguard of the effort to make the oceans free of plastic pollution and the dreaded consequences it is bringing to the health and economic welfare of island nations in the Caribbean and around the world. In 2016, Antigua and Barbuda imposed a ban on the use of single-use plastics giving it an influential voice on the issue internationally.
In June, 2020, on the occasion of World Ocean Day, it joined with Norway and the Maldives to launch the Group of Friends to Combat Plastic Pollution, seeking to accelerate the push for action on bringing an end to the crisis.
“Our marine ecosystems which are so vital for our survival will literally suffocate if we fail to act now,” Ms. Challenger acknowledged.
“There’s a growing sense of optimism that we are moving in the right direction in relieving our planet from an impending crisis,” she further said in reflecting on the outcome of last week’s meeting while expressing gratitude to her colleagues and peers for reposing their confidence in her to serve as Vice President of INC.
Ms. Challenger joined the Antigua and Barbuda Mission to the United Nations in New York in 2016 and also covers the high seas treaty and international security and disarmament matters. She has also served as Lead Oceans Negotiator for the Alliance of Small Island Developing States (AOSIS).
The Antigua and Barbuda delegation to the Paris meeting also included Dr. Linroy Christian, Director of the Analytical Services Division and Mrs. Indira James-Henry, Environmental Implementation Coordinator. Minister of Health and the Environment Sir Molwyn Joseph represented the country at the high-level meetings earlier.