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Press comment: UN committee developing the Global Plastic Treaty fails to find agreement, but progress is still possible
Apr 30, 2024

Press comment: UN committee developing the Global Plastic Treaty fails to find agreement, but progress is still possible

By EJF Staff

Today, the Environmental Justice Foundation regrets that the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee to develop an international legally binding instrument on plastic pollution, including the marine environment (INC-4), was unable to produce a first draft of a Global Plastic Treaty. While the intersessional work it has set up is important for the progression of the treaty, it critically leaves out any room for intersessionals on primary plastic polymers and the presence of observers is uncertain. We do not have more time to waste on tackling global plastic pollution, says the NGO.

Steve Trent, CEO and founder of the Environmental Justice Foundation said: “In spite of the hope of ambitious participating nations and people around the world, INC-4 did not produce a first draft of the Global Plastic Treaty.”

“This shows that blocking efforts to protect unsustainable vested interests - represented by almost 200 disclosed lobbyists - were successful in delaying the negotiation process. This is a huge missed opportunity to address the urgency of the plastic pollution crisis, one that is suffocating our seas, polluting our planet from the highest peaks to the deepest ocean, and even working its way into our bodies.”

“The agreement to establish intersessional work presents another opportunity to finally make progress towards a binding global plastic treaty, but the elephant in the room is still there in the form of the sudden and total failure on primary plastic polymers. Why have delegates abandoned this crucial issue at the last minute?”

“This process must begin with overall production reduction, immediately phasing out single-use plastics, recognising that recycling has not worked and will not; it allows big carbon emitters to keep pushing plastics and does not tackle the problem at its root.”

It is important that civil society and all ambitious stakeholders can meaningfully participate in this work, so we can work to protect people and our shared natural world through a truly representative process.”

ENDS

Notes to editors

EJF works internationally to inform policy and drive systemic, durable reforms to protect our environment and defend human rights. We investigate and expose abuses and support environmental defenders, Indigenous peoples, communities, and independent journalists on the frontlines of environmental injustice. Our campaigns aim to secure peaceful, equitable, and sustainable futures.

Our investigators, researchers, filmmakers, and campaigners work with grassroots partners and environmental defenders across the globe. Our work to secure environmental justice aims to protect our global climate, ocean, forests, and wildlife and defend basic human rights.

For more information or to speak to one of our expert staff, please email media@ejfoundation.org.