The 22nd of April 2020 saw the launch of the GCRF Plastic Pollution Governance Framework Network Project. This is a two-year project (2019-2021) implemented by the University of Nairobi, Kenya and University of Surrey, UK. It is one of the twenty networks funded by UK Research and Innovation through the Global Challenges Research Fund.
It brings together UK researchers with collaborators from across the developing world to tackle global challenges. Its vision is to contribute towards innovative approaches to the plastics governance in DAC list countries in order to mitigate resultant environmental pollution
Twenty networks will bring together UK researchers with collaborators from across the developing world to tackle global challenges.
The Global Engagement Networks will develop practical solutions to address issues such as the prevalence of single-use plastic in Kenya, hurricane recovery in the Caribbean and water management across Africa.
Each network, funded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) through the Global Challenges Research Fund, will work on problems and solutions identified within the countries themselves and will bring together a diverse range of organizations and skillsets.
Professor Andrew Thompson, UKRI International Champion, said: “Equal partnerships are the cornerstone of the Global Challenges Research Fund – with researchers from the UK working alongside researchers from developing countries to share ideas and expertise to solve global challenges.
“These new Networks have equitability at their heart and are led by researchers from across Africa, Asia, South America and Europe. They’ve been driven by the challenges faced across these regions and bring together diverse teams to identify practical, sustainable and scalable solutions that will improve the lives of many disadvantaged communities worldwide.”
The GCRF Plastics Pollution Governance Framework Network, led by Professor Nicholas Oguge of the University of Nairobi in Kenya, will explore all aspects of plastic use, from the composition of plastics that are imported across Africa to the slum communities who make a livelihood from selling and cleaning discarded plastics.
The network will explore how plastic waste can be better managed across the continent, and how it could be integrated into a circular economy that uses and reuses waste products to deliver economic benefits.
Professor Oguge said: “We are getting the right people together to bring the problems and potential solutions to the surface. We will then work together to develop plastic waste governance at all levels.
“By looking at plastics as part of the circular economy, this GCRF network offers an exciting and important chance to join academics, industry and community groups to improve social structures for our citizens. If plastic waste can be incorporated into a circular economy, then it is no longer waste but part of a sustainable solution that can provide employment.”
The network demonstrates the global, collaborative scope of the Global Engagement Networks, as researchers will be working with academics and businesses from across Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Rwanda and Malawi, as well as in the UK, Denmark, Sweden and the Caribbean.