Mastodon Australia at Global Plastics Treaty negotiations in Paris #INC2 | Climate Citizen --> Mastodon

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Australia at Global Plastics Treaty negotiations in Paris #INC2

The second meeting of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) of the Plastics Treaty ocurred from 29 May – 2 June 2023 in Paris, France. Referred to with the hashtag #INC2. The first meeting convened 28 November - 2 December 2022 at Punta del Este, Uruguay, which I reported on. The aim is to complete negotiations by the end of 2024 and create a global, legally binding plastics treaty. 

Katherine Lynch (Australia) at the final Plenary

Australia's Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek attended the first day of the conference, then returned to Australia. Australian official Katherine Lynch played a key role in co-facilitating Contact Group 2.

In 2022 Australia joined the High Ambition Coalition of 20 nations including the UK, Canada, France, and Germany that aims to end plastic pollution by 2040, including a legally binding target to phase out plastic waste products by 2025. But some countries, including the United States, Saudi Arabia and China, want to make targets voluntary. Read more at Sydney Morning Herald (28 May): Australia steps in to stop countries watering down plastics pact.


  • Delegates mandated the INC Secretariat to prepare a zero-draft of the treaty in advance of INC-3.
  • INC3 scheduled for Nairobi, Kenya in November 2023, to work on a Zero draft. 
  • Committee welcomed offers to host INC-4 by Canada (Ottawa April 2024) and INC-5 by the Republic of Korea towards the end of 2024.
The options paper from INC2 will inform the ‘zero draft’, the text with legal language that will form the blueprint of the final treaty. 

An important decision will be what kind of treaty: a treaty focused on global obligations, where every country needs to comply with an international set of standards (like the Montreal Protocol or Minamata Convention)? Or should it be a treaty that relies on nationally determined measures, where countries set their own goals and targets (like the Paris Agreement)?

This blogpost was updated frequently over the week.

Day 5 - 2 June 2023

ENB Summary:

Read IISD/ENB highlights report of the negotiations on the last day. 

Kiara Worth from IISD describes the last day of intense negotiations and the outcomes on her Facebook post:

#INC2 has been one of the most intense negotiations I have ever covered and when that gavel went down at 9:30pm, we all breathed a sigh of relief. We’re trying to draft the #PlasticsPollutionTreaty and one thing is clear: writing this treaty is going to be as difficult as getting plastics out of the Ocean. 

A big debate has been the nature of the treaty itself. Should it be a treaty focused on global obligations, where every country needs to comply with an international set of standards (like the Montreal Protocol or Minamata Convention)? Or should it be a treaty that relies on nationally determined measures, where countries set their own goals and targets (like the Paris Agreement)? There are pros and cons for both, so it’s not easy to say what the best option is.

It makes sense to have a global obligation so that everyone is striving towards the same goal. But, in order to get everyone on board, ambition might be low and not strong enough to properly tackle plastic pollution. Having nationally determined measures could also be good because countries can set realistic targets. But, if they are nationally determined then nobody can be forced to raise ambition if, for example, they set particularly low targets. It’s a difficult call and after 5 very long days, I’m not sure how much progress we’ve made.

We do have an options paper, but there are so many options it’s hard to see how this will turn into a ‘zero draft’, the text with legal language that will form the blueprint of the final treaty. Fortunately, we don’t have to deal with that now and that will be the goal for INC3 scheduled later this year in Nairobi. 


Day 4 - 1 June 2023

Co-Facilitator Lynch (Australia) in Contact Group 2 noted that an initial discussion on National Action Plans (NAPs) had been held on Wednesday evening, and informed participants that the group would meet throughout the day and into the night, and resume discussions on Friday morning.

ENB Summary:

Read IISD/ENB full day report. From In the Corridors summary:

Equipped with chocolate, snacks, coffee, and their (refillable) water bottles, delegates were prepared to go “all night long” as they finally settled into discussions on substantive matters. Constructive exchanges in both contact groups, with delegates working cordially and cooperatively, were a welcome break from the week’s more dramatic moments.

As they discussed objectives and substantive obligations, familiar rifts emerged, most notably among those who favored global obligations versus those who insisted any such measures should be nationally determined. Given the procedural delays over the week, some delegates grumbled about the short opportunity to make interventions on the wide array of available options. While many tried to make the most out the sessions by providing quick, structured remarks, some were surprised when a delegate of one large country forcefully imposed themselves, unapologetically exceeding their allocated time. Tensions were quickly defused by the graceful manner of the Co-Facilitator from Palau, who reminded delegates to breathe deeply.

Considering MoI, well known, yet important, calls filled the room: new and additional financing! technology transfer on preferential terms! capacity building! Some wondered how the new treaty would differ from others in actualizing these expectations.

Meeting into the night, with more time for contact groups scheduled for Friday morning, delegates’ focus shifted to post-INC-2 considerations. Calls for a zero draft were clear, but with the limited time spent actually addressing the options paper, some were concerned that the zero draft would just be an “updated options paper.” Others were hopeful that intersessional work could be game changing. “If we use the five months before INC-3 judiciously, we may not need an INC-6,” shared one delegate, buoyed with newfound hope.

The Plastics Treaty is a Health & Chemicals Treaty. Plastics are really Carbon + Chemicals Derived from fossil fuels says IPEN CoChair, Dr. Tadesse Amera on the Plastics Treaty.


Centre for International Law outlines the progress, trend and what's needed in a tweet thread at the start of the last day.

"Yesterday, delegates finally dug into the work in two parallel “contact groups”:

👉One focused on the what of the #PlasticsTreaty: objective & core obligations, &

👉The other focused on the how: financial mechanisms, capacity building, national action & implementation plans."

"The two contact groups must inform about the different countries' positions that will inform the much-needed zero draft of the #PlasticsTreaty text in the following weeks."

"As delegates turn to substance, we are expecting a long debate over defining "#PlasticPollution."

It may seem straightforward, but no legally binding definition of plastic pollution exists. This could be a key opportunity to expand (or narrow 😡) the scope of #PlasticsTreaty."

"The plastic crisis is NOT just a #WasteManagement crisis.

Limiting the definition to waste provides an easy way to ignore that there are seen & unseen health & environmental impacts along the entire #Plastics supply chain."

❗️States must look to the broadest possible definition❗️"

"Worrying trends:

❌The process continues to undermine its own mandate for “the widest & most effective participation” by limiting CSOs' voices in the rooms.

❌Some States offered a limited understanding of plastic pollution that could jeopardize the effectiveness of the treaty

Indigenous Peoples have not been allowed to meaningfully participate in the negotiations so far. In response, they organized an event urging States to adopt a strong #PlasticsTreaty to:

❗️Truly #BreakFreeFromPlastic,

❗️Protect Indigenous Peoples, &

❗️Honor Indigenous knowledge.

"As the #INC2 wraps up we urge delegates to remember:

⭐️ There is no more time for delay tactics,

⭐️ The health of present & future generations is in your hands!

⭐️ A strong #PlasticsTreaty is key to addressing the triple planetary crisis."

Contact Group 2 Co-Facilitators Tommy Oliver Boachie, Ghana, and Katherine Lynch, Australia. Photo Courtesy IISD/ENB - Kiara Worth

Day 3 - 31 May 2023

Plenary Video Day 3 - 1 (EN) 
Plenary Video Day 3 - 2 resumed (EN)
Plenary Video Day 3 - 2 resumed (EN)

AUSTRALIA underlined the need for strong national led actions, complemented by globally agreed standards. Katherine Lynch (Australia) and Oliver Boachie (Ghana) are co-facilitating Contact Group 2. 

ENB Summary:

Read IISD/ENB full day report. From In the Corridors summary:

Having finally overcome the procedural hiccups of the first two days, delegates got down to it, spending the day hearing the priorities of states and stakeholders for the future agreement. In statement after statement, it was clear that the future treaty will be very important. But, depending on who one spoke to, it stands to be important for different reasons.

For some, this treaty would look at plastic production, taking a top-down approach to address plastic waste. For others, this treaty intends to establish new design standards for plastic products, helping the world to avoid the immediate downstream impacts of plastic pollution. However, even here there was debate, for despite many calls for circularity on this front, some opined that “plastic is not an inherently circular material.” For others still, the treaty would eliminate the ubiquitous plastic pollution already found in the environment, and guide users on how best to manage and dispose of their plastic waste. While it is still early days in the INC process, hammering out the material scope of the future treaty will be essential to get everyone to agree on first principles.

As the day progressed, all were keen to move into contact groups. With the session going overtime for the second time this week, some wondered why the proposal by one delegation to limit national statements had not been more widely adopted. “We’ve spent far too much time hearing about things we already know,” sighed one exasperated delegate. Others noticed that a stringent time-keeping approach was not introduced until observers were given the time to present their positions. “We’ve been waiting for two and a half days to share our thoughts, and are cut off at two minutes,” several complained.

 In the unscheduled breaks between sessions, several turned philosophical. The “delay tactics” by certain delegations made some observers confident that working on this treaty had some countries “running scared.” Others, though, focusing on the process, lamented that “the navigation system seems to be broken,” with delegates milling aimlessly around the plenary, wondering “Are we are lost at sea?” By the end of the evening, sanity prevailed, and delegates hunkered down for a long evening of contact group discussions, which will continue all day Thursday.

Day 2 - 30 May 2023

Plenary Video 1 (EN)
Plenary Video 2 resumed (EN)
Press Briefing at end of 2nd day:

Envirinment Minister Tanya Plibersek

Returned home to Australia.

ENB Summary:

Read IISD/ENB full day report. From In the Corridors summary:

If a stranger walked into the plenary room on Tuesday morning, they would likely be unable to tell that this was a gathering to discuss the global scourge of plastic pollution. Picking up from where they left off in their discussions on the rules of procedure, optimism quickly waned as the debate widened (and deepened) the chasm between those in support of consensus-based decision making, versus those in favour of majority voting procedures where consensus cannot be reached. Other cracks emerged, including on how best to continue discussions on the way forward. As the debate raged on in plenary, these fissures became fractures, with some claiming that other delegations were acting in “bad faith,” and even questioning the Chair´s impartiality. Several raised concerns that consensus was being used as an alibi for avoiding agreement, with others fretting that certain delegations were holding “the rest of us hostage.”

Looking back, some noted that “we are here because there was a lack of clarity when we left the preparatory meeting in Dakar in 2022,” with another countering that it was “crystal clear that the only rule still open for debate was on voting rights.” Tempers flared and threats flew as delegates made no progress on the heart of the matter, which had brought thousands to Paris clamoring to make their voices heard. Although protracted discussions on procedural matters are not unusual, what is unusual is the “seeming loss of trust” in the process. One seasoned delegate shared that the “the hardest thing to regain is trust,” at this early stage of negotiations.

Observers, watching quietly from the sidelines, were understandably frustrated that the urgent matters which had brought them to INC-2 had yet to be opened, with many beginning to calculate the cost of participating in these talks. Other, more seasoned, participants looked at the broader picture. “These procedural talks have likely cost the taxpayer almost half a million dollars since Monday!” remarked one observer.

In some quarters, there were whispers about how to best manage the very limited time the INC has to conclude its work. At the end of this session, “we will only have 15 more negotiating days,” recalled one delegation, expressing disappointment that at this meeting, “we lost” two negotiating days trying to “rewrite the rules of engagement.” One seasoned participant noted that, at this rate, “we may have to conjure up some additional days to finalize these talks.”

Comment by Norwegian Academy of International Law :

"It is difficult to see how an ambitious and effective treaty on plastic pollution can be crafted if all participating countries have a right to block any substantive decision, as suggested by Brazil. In multilateral politics, consensus is a noble aspiration, but a disastrous rule. That is why international forums governed by the rule of consensus produce lowest-common-denominator outcomes, at best, and — more often — no outcomes at all." -  Magnus Løvold and Torbjørn Graff Hugo, Norwegian Academy of International Law (NAIL), Plastics treaty negotiations in the balance, as oil producing countries fight for right to veto decisions

Magnus Løvold (@magnuslovold) says in a tweet that "No multilateral environmental treaty has ever been negotiated without the option of voting. Brackets in #INC2 #PlasticsTreaty rule 38 would be a disaster for the planet and the future of environmental governance."

Day 1 - 29 May 2023

Plenary Video 2 resumed (EN)
Press Briefing at end of first day:

The Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) reports on keynote speeches on the first day:

INC Chair, Mr Gustavo Meza Cuadra, reiterated that the time to act is now, encouraging active and constructive engagement from delegates to expedite the process.

“The time for contemplation is over, we need to move in an urgent manner, the world’s eyes are turned on us. Fighting plastic pollution is possible but we need to work together,” he said. “Plastic pollution is everywhere, it knows no borders, posing a direct threat to our environment and our health. It is only through collective action that we will overcome this challenge. We need to move these negotiations swiftly and ambitiously.”

“Member States should lead by example. Champion key solutions. Be bold. Full stakeholder engagement isn’t an add-on. It’s fundamental. The informal sector. Indigenous peoples. Local communities. Civil society, academia and youth. Nobody should be kept on the outside looking in. “The private sector must be part of the solution.

Also UNEP Executive Director Inger Anderson's keynote:

“It will take leadership to deliver – while ensuring a just transition for workers in the informal waste sector and everybody involved in the plastics industry,” Ms Andersen said.

“Member States should lead by example. Champion key solutions. Be bold. Full stakeholder engagement isn’t an add-on. It’s fundamental. The informal sector. Indigenous peoples. Local communities. Civil society, academia and youth. Nobody should be kept on the outside looking in. “The private sector must be part of the solution.

A legal instrument to end plastic pollution, she said, provides our only chance for a future unblighted by the plastic crisis.

“This future is dependent on a strong deal, which in turn is dependent on what you do this week. At this gathering, you can set the mandate to prepare a zero-draft of the agreement for negotiation at INC-3,” she said.

“You have a 2024 deadline to deliver a deal. A meaningful deal. Each year of delay means an open tap and more plastic pollution. So, I ask you to show leadership and inclusive multilateralism here in Paris, as the international community did on climate eight years ago, in this very city.

“Show ambition, determination and innovation. Set the stage for getting the deal done. We have already wasted so much time and spewed so much plastic into the environment. We should not also waste this opportunity to do better – for ourselves and for every living creature on this planet.”

ENB Summary:

Read IISD/ENB full day report. From In the Corridors summary:

On the first day of work, delegates’ excitement to begin the monumental task before them was hamstrung by procedural issues. Rousing opening statements acknowledged the need for swift action on “the ticking time bomb” that is plastic pollution, urging delegates to make the most of INC-2, recalling that only three further sessions have been scheduled before the Committee is expected to conclude its work in 2024. By late Monday morning, however, delegations embarked on what turned out to be a long road to solve outstanding issues.

Having kicked the can down the road on formally establishing an INC bureau at their first session, delegations now took up the task. After an extended debate about who would be voting and how votes would be counted given the provisional nature of the draft RoP, a number of delegations cautioned that, “this vote cannot set a precedent for the future,” as “voting erodes the good-faith-based nature” of multilateral talks.

This view spilled over into the late afternoon discussion on the RoP, which was unexpectedly protracted. Opposing views emerged, with one camp favoring consensus-based decision making. The other camp noted that “consensus is sometimes tantamount to a veto,” calling for flexibility in decision making procedures to make progress on substantive issues. “We will not move forward until our voices are adequately reflected,” said a number of speakers, forcing the session to conclude earlier than planned.

Forming the bulk of participants at INC-2, observers had a rather quiet day. After a “bit of a fiery” intersessional period in the lead up to this meeting where some took to social media to air their views on reports and papers on the plastic (pollution) crisis and on the elements paper to be discussed this week, a pre-session dialogue with UNEP and the INC Secretariat was held on Sunday. Whether this dialogue will have “done the trick” to calm the waters and settle some of the pressing questions on potential conflicts of interests related to funding, and issues related to transparency and observer participation in the INC process, will likely be seen as the Committee dives into the substantive part of their discussions.

Tanya Plibersek

See also Tweet thread: meeting with various Ministers,  Australia hosted a panel with representatives from many of our pacific neighbours,

Plastics and the Climate Crisis

Pacific Environment NGO prepared a report prior to the INC2 conference linking the Plastics Crisis to the Climate Crisis.

The report shows that two key pathways are needed to put the industry on a 1.5 degree Celsius compatible pathway:

  • Plastic must be reduced by at least 75% by 2050. This includes phasing out single-use plastic by 2040 and curbing durable plastic.
  • End plastic incineration (and any plastic burning, including in cement kilns and chemical recycling) and require remaining plastic products be produced with greener feedstocks (such as green hydrogen) and 100% renewable energy.

The report presents new global modeling that shows the policy action needed to reduce emissions from the plastics and petrochemicals industries in time to defeat the climate crisis. Key findings are:

  • The 2020 life cycle emissions amount of the global plastics sector is 1.3 Gt CO2e (CO2 equivalent). Under a business-as-usual scenario, the entire life cycle emissions of plastic are expected to nearly triple, from 1.3 Gt in 2020 to 3.2 Gt in 2050. And the cumulative emissions between 2020 and 2050 could easily reach 65 Gt, comprising 16% of the planetary boundary of 400 Gt CO2e.
  • Getting the plastics industry to zero emissions means an integrated approach that takes into account the life cycle emissions of plastic, from its fossil fuel source to its disposal.

To keep the industry within a 1.5 degree Celsius temperature change scenario, we must:

  1. Reduce plastic by at least 75%, which can bring down business-as-usual plastics industry emissions by 71%. To achieve this large-scale reduction will require significant reduction of non-essential plastic; therefore, we suggest phasing out single-use plastic by 2040.
  2. Eliminate incineration and green remaining production: A second set of solutions is needed to transform how we make and dispose of any remaining plastic, to bring the industry to within a 1.5 degree Celsius temperature change scenario. These solutions include ending incineration of plastic (including chemical recycling and cement kilns), since incineration doubles the life cycle emissions of plastic. Applying greener production (clean energy and greener feedstocks, such as green hydrogen) can further reduce production emissions.

The report suggests five areas of focus for a Global Plastics Treaty 
  1. set science-based reduction targets for plastic within planetary boundaries, 
  2. measure all plastics emissions and hold the industry accountable, 
  3. promote and encourage reduce-reuse solutions, 
  4. Put an end to false solutions, including waste to energy and plastic incineration (including cement kilns), and 
  5. provide a just transition for waste workers including waste pickers.
 Read the Pacific Environment Press release for more information.

Australia's statement on Agenda Item 4

Preparation of an international legally binding instrument on plastic pollution, including in the marine environment

Australian Government Written Intervention 

Australia would like to thank the Government of the French Republic for its outstanding efforts and generosity in hosting the second Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee meeting.

Australia remains firmly committed to negotiating an ambitious, legally binding instrument to end plastic pollution. We are mindful of the high stakes of this work, and the hopes of people all around the world who look to this process to progress a tangible and meaningful pathway forward. This will require not only strong national-led action, but also globally agreed standards and binding obligations to facilitate and give certainty to the major transition necessary across all economies.

Australia thanks the Secretariat of the INC for preparing the Options Paper, which provides a clear framework to guide our discussions this week. Building on this options paper, Australia’s priorities for the instrument are that it includes:

1. An overarching objective for the instrument to end plastic pollution from all sources to protect the environment and human health.

2. Measures to restrain primary plastic production to sustainable levels. Setting a clear signal here will support the private sector to make necessary investment in technologies and business models that will increase plastic recycling rates and improve the availability of more sustainable alternatives.

3. Binding provisions to eliminate and restrict unnecessary, avoidable and problematic plastic products and packaging. We can – and should - phase out the problem plastics we simply don’t need. We note over 80 Member States have already phased out certain problematic single-use plastics, demonstrating that such phaseouts are both feasible and effective in a range of national contexts. We also note over 130 Member States have expressed support for control measures on problematic single use plastics.

4. Binding provisions to eliminate, avoid and better manage chemicals of concern from use throughout the plastics supply chain.

5. Core obligations to ensure safe circularity for plastics. The product design stage is where we can have the most impact to reduce the detrimental impacts of plastics that are used in our economies. The instrument should include obligations for sustainable design criteria, that ensure products are designed, produced, manufactured, and transported in a way that facilitates a circular economy and minimises adverse impacts on the environment and human health.

We also note the need to work with industry to establish harmonised transparency and traceability frameworks. These frameworks will support industry’s transition and realise new economic opportunities.

6. Binding provisions to reduce and manage plastic waste in an environmentally sound and safe manner and to address legacy waste, in a manner which complements existing international instruments. This must include provisions to remediate existing plastic pollution, recognising its disproportionate impacts on small island developing states, including Pacific Island Countries. We must look for the best available options now and remain open to new solutions as they emerge.

7. Provisions for implementation measures, which will be critical to the instrument’s ultimate success. Priority implementation provisions include:

• Provisions for innovative and effective capacity building, technical assistance and finance and funding models to support the transformation required across all economies to sustainably manage plastics. This should include consideration of ways to align and influence existing multilateral work programs, funding and financing arrangements to amplify dedicated efforts under this instrument to end plastic pollution.

• Obligations for monitoring, reporting and compliance to support Member States’ implementation activities, and to ensure we can adequately measure our progress in reducing plastic pollution.

• Provisions to ensure that development and implementation of the legally binding instrument draw upon Indigenous and local knowledge, and the latest scientific and technical advice.

Australia looks forward to outcomes of discussions at INC-2 delivering a clear mandate for the Chair to prepare zero draft treaty text for consideration at INC-3.

We reiterate that this is a global problem requiring a global solution. We look forward to working with all countries to deliver a strong and ambitious instrument, noting only an ambitious approach will be enough to end plastic pollution.


Australia's Submission in leadup to INC2

Proposed Objective:
“End plastic pollution to protect the environment and human health from the adverse effects of plastic pollution across the full life cycle of plastics”

Explanatory Text:
Plastic pollution contributes to the triple planetary crisis of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution as a consequence of the plastic leakage into the environment at every stage of its lifecycle. It has significant adverse impacts on the environment, ecosystems, biodiversity and human health.

End Plastic pollution
The title of the UNEA resolution 5/14, End Plastic Pollution: Towards an International Legally-binding Instrument, has already settled ending plastic pollution as the goal of the Treaty (in the public sphere). However, there is merit in specifying it in the instrument’s objective.

Environment and human health
Drawing on UNEA resolution 5/14, Australia considers that the core motivation for the instrument is to address the adverse impacts of plastic pollution on the environment and human health.

Full life cycle
The objective should also reflect the need to take a comprehensive approach that addresses the full life cycle of plastics, in accordance with the mandate of UNEA resolution 5/14. This mandated approach covers source materials, product design and production, transportation, use and end of life treatment and impacts. Unless the instrument takes a life-cycle approach it is unlikely to be effective, noting estimates by the OECD that 70% of a product’s environmental impact is determined at the design stage.

We propose keeping the objective high-level, succinct and focused on the key aim of the instrument. Other multilateral agreements have taken a similar approach (such as Minamata Convention, Basel Convention, Montreal Protocol).

Achieving the Objective will be a long-term endeavour. As such, the instrument must include mechanisms that allow for systematic work over time and gradually strengthening the approach, informed by new scientific insights and updated understanding about progress.

Core obligations, control measures and voluntary approaches 
Australia would like to see the treaty address the following issues through a mix of obligations, control measures and/or voluntary action. Core obligations should focus on:
  • Ensuring global action is taken across the full life cycle of plastics
  • Creating a shift towards a safe circular economy that protects the environment and human health
  • Applying the precautionary approach and polluter-pays principle, noting information gaps should not be a reason to delay action where we know certain chemicals or products cause harm.
  • Improving global understanding of the problem and measuring performance (through national reporting obligations)
Upstream actions to support a circular economy for plastics
The instrument should facilitate a shift from the current linear plastic economy to a safe circular
economy where plastic is produced at sustainable levels, and is considered a valued resource that
continues to circulate within the economy. Potential measures include:
  • Restrain the production of unnecessary primary plastics through eliminating unnecessary plastics, measures to increase recycling rates, national reporting on virgin plastic production, potential trade-related measures, labelling requirements and phase-out of certain materials/additives.
  • Eliminate problematic and unnecessary single-use plastics.
  • Design standards/criteria to ensure products (including their chemical composition) are designed for safe recyclability, reuse and repair.
  • Promote market-based instruments that recognise the value of plastics, ensure that plastic is put to its best and most necessary uses, and avoided where it is unnecessary.
Reducing plastic leakage, ensuring environmentally sound waste management and addressing
legacy waste
The instrument should reduce leakage of plastics (and associated chemicals) to the environment across each stage of the life cycle. Potential measures include:
  • Ensuring that those plastics that are essential but cannot be reused or recycled are managed in an environmentally sound manner, in line with the waste hierarchy.
  • Regulating the movement, and end of life management of plastic waste to reduce leakage from mismanaged waste.
  • Improved measurement, monitoring and reporting of plastic leakage so that we can assess global progress towards the instrument’s objective and better target our activities.
  • Collaborative actions to manage existing pollution, including guidance and cooperation to address legacy marine litter, including in international waters.
Supporting harmonised approaches
The instrument could focus on measures that would achieve efficiencies for industry and prevent the impacts of plastic pollution through global harmonisation. Potential measures include:
  • Global standards and definitions to support the circular trade in plastics, reduce the costs of doing business and increase recycling rates. Global standards and definitions will be needed to define problematic single-use plastics, standards to ensure products are truly recyclable, and definitions and standards to counter vague and prolific greenwashing claims.
  • Global approach to phasing out/banning chemicals of concern and hazardous additives in plastics noting plastic is a globally traded material.
  • Traceability, transparency and labelling standards to support a circular plastics economy, support the phase out of harmful chemicals through mandatory disclosure provisions, reduce ‘greenwashing’, and increase validity of recycled input materials.
  • Standards to avoid unsustainable product substitution.
Addressing plastic pollution will require actions across the full life cycle of plastics including the upstream, midstream and downstream stages of the plastics value chain, including at the end of life. Actions should be informed by the principles of a circular economy and the waste hierarchy. The instrument should support national-level actions, complemented by clear, transparent global requirements where necessary. Global measures are particularly important given the global nature of the plastics value-chain and the transboundary nature of plastic pollution.

Core obligations, control measures and voluntary actions will be necessary to help the global community move swiftly to a safe circular economy, support circular economy trade, reduce plastic leakage to the environment, manage plastic waste in an environmentally sound manner, and address legacy pollution. Focus should be on prioritising measures that will have the greatest impact in preventing and minimising plastic pollution, and where we can get the most out of global cooperation, including through harmonisation.

Given the global nature of the trade in plastics and plastic products, global measures are necessary to provide transparency and fair market conditions to ensure countries do not unknowingly import products containing harmful chemicals or products with high litter propensity. It is important that all communities (including vulnerable populations) are afforded similar protections through such global measures.

Read more here: Australia's submission pre-INC2 on 10 February 2023

UNEP Summary

One minute summary from UNEP’s Executive Director calling for an ambitious deal to eliminate unnecessary plastic; redesign products and packaging; redesign for reuse, refill, recyclability and redesign for a broader system for justice. See UNEP News (29 May)


Tanya Plibersek expectations from Australia:


UNEP Second Session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee on Plastic Pollution 

IISD/Earth Negotiaions Bulletin INC2:

IPEN Plastics Treaty Resources:

Australia's submission pre-INC2 on 10 February 2023

Chen, Xuejing, Kristen McDonald, Madeline Rose, Pacific Environment, 23 May 2023, “Stemming the Plastic-Climate Crisis: Paris Alignment for Plastics Requires at least 75% Reduction,”,

No comments:

Post a Comment