The third session of UN Global Plastic Treaty negotiations in Nairobi, Kenya ended yesterday (19 November) with more than 500 proposals from governments, participants said.
The Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC-3) met in Nairobi to develop an international legally binding instrument on plastic pollution, including in the marine environment. More than 1,900 delegates participated in INC-3, representing 161 Members, including the European Union and over 318 observer organisations.
The third session follows INC-1 in Punta del Este, Uruguay, in November 2022 and INC-2 in Paris, France, over May and June 2023. The session in Nairoibi ended with an agreement on a starting point for negotiations at the fourth session (INC-4).
The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) says Members discussed the Chair’s Zero Draft throughout INC-3. The Zero draft text of the international legally binding instrument on plastic pollution, including in the marine environment, was published in September by the UNEP and included reduction, reuse, refill and repair targets.
According to a report in Reuters, petrochemical and oil exporters, including Russia and Saudi Arabia, and the plastics industry have called for a global deal that promotes recycling and reusing plastic. However, environmental campaigners and some governments have urged for less production to be the priority.
It is crucial that ambitious states stand firm against attempts to weaken progress by some of the world’s major oil and petrochemical producers.
CIEL (Centre for International Environmental Law) accused a few negotiators of blocking progress through “endless debate” and warned that this would lead to inertia and “eventual disaster”.
Reacting to the conclusion of negotiations, Jacob Kean-Hammerson, Ocean Campaigner at the Environmental Investigation Agency, said the path towards a strong final agreement looks “treacherous”.
“These negotiations ended with more questions than answers about how we can bridge the political divide and craft a Treaty that stimulates positive change,” Kean-Hammerson said. “As always, the devil is in the details, so it is crucial that ambitious states stand firm against attempts to weaken progress by some of the world’s major oil and petrochemical producers.
“There will be no true advancement over the next year without a much stronger focus on addressing the problem with overproduction and the world’s addiction to plastics.”