The United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS)

UNOPS joins efforts to beat plastic pollution for good

As part of a global initiative led by the President of the UN General Assembly, a music festival on the island of Antigua brought together musicians, artists, celebrities, policy leaders and innovators to raise awareness on the issue of plastic pollution.

Sponsored by the government of Norway, and in partnership with the government of Antigua and Barbuda, the ‘Play it Out’ festival was held 1 June and live-streamed globally. Grammy Award winner, Ashanti, participated along with a host of other local and international artists.

UNOPS joined UN Environment and several other partners providing additional support for the festival and getting behind the cause.  

"I welcome UNOPS ongoing commitment towards tackling environmental challenges, such as plastic pollution and climate change,” said Ms. María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés, President of the UN General Assembly (UNGA).

“Engaging our younger generation on this issue through art and technology is key if we are to achieve a cleaner ocean and a healthier, more sustainable planet," she added.   

UNOPS Executive Director Grete Faremo noted the importance of working collaboratively and forming new kinds of partnerships to tackle some of the world’s greatest challenges.

Driving innovative ways of doing things together with not only our established partners, but also with artists, small businesses, tech companies and young people, is essential. Only together can we clean up our ocean and build opportunities and hopes for a more sustainable future for all.”

Grete Faremo - Under-Secretary-General and UNOPS Executive Director

The festival is part of a broader campaign led by the President of UNGA, who earlier this year launched a global call to action on plastic pollution. The campaign focuses on phasing out the use of single-use plastics and aims to raise awareness of the impact of plastics on the environment and human health.

Ms. Espinosa Garcés also visited the UNOPS Antigua and Barbuda Science and Innovation Park, for a special event attended by the Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Gaston Browne, Norway's Minister of Climate and Environment, Ola Elvestuen, and the Ambassador of Antigua and Barbuda to the UN, H.E. Walton A Webson.

“This innovation centre will certainly help our people, especially our youth, to examine and explore ways of doing business differently, to create value, and to work with other international firms to ensure that there is a cross fertilization of skills of technology. And at the same time, to expose our youth to a global space in which we all operate,” said Prime Minister Browne.

By partnering with organizations such as UNOPS, they are helping us to expand our creativity and our innovativeness beyond the shores of Antigua and Barbuda […] I want to thank UNOPS for the confidence and trust that they have reposed in our people – and our government – to establish this facility.”

Gaston Browne - Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda

The event included presentations from leading global technology and renewable energy companies, including SONY, Spotify, Minesto and Saildrone, while the winning team of the 2019 ‘Dadlihack 2.0’ hackathon, held at the centre in February, also participated.

The Science and Innovation Park brings together local entrepreneurs to drive innovative approaches in the areas of climate change and clean energy technology – a first of its kind in the Caribbean.

More information on the 'Play it out' festival can be found here.

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