Negotiations on global treaty to end plastic pollution begin in Uruguay

Rwanda will join nations from around the world in Uruguay to begin drafting a global treaty to end plastic pollution with the first session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC1), which will develop an Internationally legally binding instrument to end plastic pollution.

The session will take place in Punta del Este from 28 November to 2 December 2022, following multi-stakeholder and regional consultations as well as bureau meetings held on 26 and 27 November 2022 respectively.

The idea to develop a global treaty to end plastic pollution was initiated by Rwanda and later supported by Peru before it was passed as a resolution at the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-5.2) held in March in Nairobi. 

The historic resolution to end plastic pollution and forge an international legally binding agreement by 2024 is considered the most important environment-related resolution taken since the adoption of the Paris Agreement in December 2015.

The process to draft and negotiate the treaty will take two years. The aim is to eliminate plastic waste upstream during production and polymer formation, midstream at product g and downstream during waste management. 

At the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee, every continent is represented by two countries. Africa is represented by Rwanda and Senegal, which will serve as Bureau Members.

“We are delighted that the drafting of a global treaty on plastic pollution has now started. As the initiator of this treaty, Rwanda looks forward to working with other nations to create a legally-binding framework which holds us all accountable for ending plastic pollution by 2040,” said Juliet Kabera, Director General of the Rwanda Environment Management Authority and Rwanda’s representative on the INC. 

The Bureau of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee, which will be formally elected during this first meeting, will provide guidance in organizing the meetings of INC1.

The Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee will develop a legally binding instrument on plastic pollution, including in the marine environment. The instrument is to be based on a comprehensive approach that addresses the full life cycle of plastic. The INC will consider how to promote sustainable production and consumption of plastics from product design to environmentally sound waste management through resource efficiency and circular economy approaches.

The creation of a global treaty to end plastic pollution aims to facilitate international cooperation through technology and knowledge sharing, as well as creating appropriate mechanisms for investment. This collaborative spirit will ensure the world can take full advantage of the economic opportunities created by a viable and vibrant circular economy for plastic.

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