UPDATE : UNEP global plastic treaty “progress”


The world celebrated in March 2022 as the United Nations Environment Assembly agreed to create a legally binding global treaty on plastic, targeted to be complete by the end of 2024.  So…how’s that been working out so far?

The March resolution requested that UNEP’s Executive Director convene an intergovernmental negotiating committee (INC) to develop an international legally binding instrument on plastic pollution, including in the marine environment, based on a comprehensive approach that addresses the full life cycle of plastic. 

At the end of May, an Ad hoc working group began preparing to create the treaty and set out a schedule, procedural rules, and talked with multi-stakeholders on the size and nature of the plastic problem.

The first round of negotiations of the INC took place November 26 to Dec 2nd in Punta del Este in Uruguay. While no policy-based decisions were made, work was done to create definitions, compliance mechanisms, treaty structure and other first step discussions. 

According to the International Institute for Sustainable Development (ISSD) most delegates “seemed to agree that there are negative effects surrounding plastic pollution, it was clear they have yet to find common ground on the details and contents of key substantive themes that will determine the scope and guide the implementation of the future international treaty.”

So, it may be premature to expect easy solutions and quick global agreement when the INC holds the second session next May in Paris, and will include both plenary sessions and negotiation. 

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