OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY
H.E. Ms. María Fernanda Espinosa
New York, The President of the UN General Assembly, Maria Fernanda Espinosa, today joined Molwyn Joseph, Environment Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, and Mona Juul, Permanent Representative of Norway, to welcome special guest Ashanti as a headliner at the upcoming ‘Play it Out’ concert to tackle plastic pollution.
“At the heart of my Presidency is a firm belief that multilateral solutions, involving a diverse group of stakeholders, are the only sustainable and efficient way to deliver results,” noted President Espinosa. “The challenge of plastics is one that spans the entire globe…every region, every ocean, every environment is impacted. We must work on this together. Play it Out purposefully brings together Member States, the private sector, philanthropic groups and individuals, and focuses this combined energy on a joint solution.”
“We have all seen the images of turtles choking on straws, or birds wrapped in plastic, and it’s devastating,” noted Ashanti. “But these images, while emotional, don’t capture how massive this problem really is. This concert is about raising awareness, it’s about educating people to the seriousness of the situation.”
Up to 15 million tons of plastic litter are dumped into the ocean each year. Most of this has the potential to persist in the ocean for long periods, to travel with ocean currents across long distances, and to accumulate in habitats far from its point of origin. In fact, while most plastics are designed to last, their breakdown has been shown to result in microplastics that have been found everywhere from the insides of marine wildlife to the deepest parts of the ocean.
Along with Ashanti, the concert, which aims to Play it Out to Phase it Out, will be joined by soca star Machel Montano, along with GRAMMY Nominated Rocky Dawuni – Ghana’s premiere reggae artist and UN Environment Goodwill Ambassador to Africa. Also joining the concert will be a lineup of artists and performers covering different regions demographics and music styles. They include American indie-rock band St. Lucia; Bomba Estéreo, an electric-duo hailing from Colombia; Nico & Vinz, an R&B act from Norway; and Grammy nominated German DJ/producer Robin Schulz. The event will also feature top local artists, including Ricardo Drue and Claudette Peters. Antigua’s Kanneh-Masons, who recently performed at the wedding of Prince Harry to Meghan Markle, will also perform.
Additionally, the concert will feature an array of speakers including dignitaries, policymakers, celebrities, and representatives from the scientific, philanthropic and academic communities. This includes actor, co-founder of Lonely Whale, and UN Environment Goodwill Ambassador, Adrian Grenier.
“We are thrilled to have this amazing lineup of artists and speakers,” said Minister Joseph. “Being the first country in the region to ban single-use plastic, Antigua and Barbuda is proud to host this event and we hope that this festival will bring international awareness to the harmful effects of plastics to our oceans.”
“It’s shocking how prevalent plastic litter in our oceans really is,” stated Mona Juul, Norway’s Ambassador to the United Nations. “And yet, people are taking action, and we see that very clearly in the Caribbean. Norway’s hope is that this concert will not only highlight the problem but showcase the opportunities for clean and healthy oceans. Norway believes that we need a new global agreement to combat marine litter. We hope that the concert will be a platform to also move that agenda forward. It is also an excellent opportunity to demonstrate how important regional cooperation is for contributing to solving this growing problem.”
The concert, set for 1 June in Antigua, will see an audience of up to 20,000 people attend live, with thousands more following online at http://webtv.un.org/.
“Plastics have revolutionized our world, offering affordability and convenience, and no one disputes that,” stressed President Espinosa. “But poor consumption and production patterns, the lack of environmentally sounds waste management systems, and use of single-use plastics, is devastating our ecosystems, and our own health and well-being. Our campaign, of which this concert is a part, will hopefully bring about change in behaviors from producers and consumers alike.”
NOTE TO CORRESPONDENTS:
The ‘Play it Out’ concert is part of the Campaign Against Plastic Pollution, launched by the President of the UN General Assembly in December of 2018, and is aimed at tackling plastic waste both on the global level as well as within the UN itself. The concert will be hosted by the Government of Antigua and supported by the Government of Norway. Other campaign supporters include the Government of Monaco, the Government of Qatar, UN Environment, UNOPS, TKG | The Krim Group, National Geographic and Lonely Whale.
QUOTES FROM SUPPORTERS
“We can no longer afford the cost of single-use plastic, on our health, oceans and ecosystems. Initiatives like ‘Play it Out’ are important because they galvanize people, communities and leaders to take the kind of transformative action we need to secure the future for people and planet.” – Joyce Msuya, Acting Executive Director, UN Environment Hashtags: #PlayitOut #BeatPlasticPollution
“Our work to put an end to plastic pollution is critical now more than ever, which is why I am supporting the President of the General Assembly’s concert and its message of collaboration and its spotlight on tangible solutions. We have seen excellent examples of collaboration in the Caribbean where regional governments, the UN, and civil society groups have worked together to ban single-use plastics. I look forward to celebrating what we can achieve together alongside the President of the General Assembly, the UN Environment and my organization Lonely Whale.” – Adrian Grenier
Tweets by UN_PGA
ABOUT ROCKY DAWUNI:
GRAMMY nominated musician and activist, Rocky Dawuni, straddles the boundaries between Africa, the Caribbean and the U.S. to create his appealing Afro Roots sound that unites generations and cultures. A galvanizing performer, Dawuni has shared the stage with Stevie Wonder, Peter Gabriel, Jason Mraz, Janelle Monae and John Legend, among many others. Named one of Africa’s Top 10 global stars by CNN, he has showcased his talent at prestigious venues such as The Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center and The Hollywood Bowl. Rocky is a UN Environment Goodwill Ambassador for Africa as well as a UN Foundation Ambassador for the Clean Cooking Alliance. Through these designations he uses his music to shine a light on crucial issues facing humanity cross the globe through live concerts, speaking roles, panels, youth empowerment, leadership circles and more.
Dawuni’s infectious, sing-along sixth album, Branches of the Same Tree, (Cumbancha) was nominated for a GRAMMY for “Best Reggae Album” (2016) featuring the Afro Dancehall mashup video “African Thriller.” Branches highlights Dawuni’s ability to communicate a universal, uplifting message that crosses borders and reaches out to the hearts of millions. In March 2019, Rocky released his much anticipated 7th album entitled “Beats of Zion” (Six Degrees Distribution) with its striking accompanying video shot in Jamestown, Accra (Ghana). “Beats of Zion” was named “Top Tune of the Day” on tastemaker station KCRW. Another track from the album “Let’s Go” is the theme song for Cadbury Canada’s Bicycle Factory Campaign 2018 and the beautiful 360 degree video from the song has already reached over 1 million views on You Tube. In a time when divisive rhetoric is on the rise and the political climate prefers to build walls over bridges, Rocky’s album “Beats of Zion” is a refreshing message about global unity and a worldview of oneness.
“Wickedest Sound” featuring Stonebwoy
“Beats of Zion” Sales Link for all platforms: