A Global Plastics Treaty edges closer
“Despite the vested interests and fossil fuel lobbyists, there is still hope.”
The third round of negotiations (INC-3) for a Global Plastics Treaty are now closed. We went into this latest round of negotiations with real optimism that details on transformative ideas around plastic reduction, reuse targets and a just and fair transition could be thrashed out. Sadly, as we entered with optimism so did A LOT of vested interests.
Author and Environmentalist, Jonathon Porritt, wrote a piece for World Refill Day this year in which he said: “The meaningful nature of the treaty is under threat. The fossil fuel and petrochemical industries were all over the conference in Paris, doing everything they could to slow things down and talk up the benefits of doing things voluntarily.” At least we are forewarned this time round he said. As you read on however, his words will feel a little close to the bone.
Fuelling the problem
Analysis from the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL), showed the level of the problem. They uncovered that:
- 143 fossil fuel and chemical industry lobbyists registered for these negotiations in Nairobi
- This outnumbered the 70 smallest Member States delegations at the negotiations combined!
- Six Member States have fossil fuel and chemical company lobbyists in their own delegation.
- The count of 143 fossil fuel and chemical company lobbyists far exceeds the 38 Scientists’ Coalition for an Effective Plastics Treaty
Devil’s in the detail
So what did get discussed?
This was the first time the “zero draft” of the treaty was discussed. The positive measures that we welcomed as part of the “zero draft” are still on the table. And we’re hopeful that we will still see a Global Plastics Treaty that includes commitments to cap and reduce plastic use, and ambitious and legally binding reusable targets to ensure a just and fair transition. However, there was NO significant move towards removing the less acceptable options either. And we’re no closer to real detail – which is where famously the devil is!
As our amigos at Greenpeace quipped after INC-2 “It contains all of our dreams and all of our nightmares” – sadly this still holds true.
“Despite the vested interests and fossil fuel lobbyists, there is still hope. The positive measures that we welcomed as part of the “zero draft” are still on the table. We’re hopeful that we will still see a Global Plastics Treaty that includes commitments to cap and reduce plastic use, and ambitious and legally binding reusable targets to ensure a just and fair transition.” Steve Hynd, City to Sea’s Policy Manager.
So what’s next?
One of the few things everyone could agree on was when the next meeting should be. Members agreed on the dates of both INC-4, to take place in Ottawa, Canada, in April 2024, and INC-5, which is scheduled for November/December 2024 in the Republic of Korea. Hurrah.
Sadly, and perhaps most disappointingly they failed to to reach an agreement on priorities for intersessional work ahead of INC-4 – in other words what negotiators homework should be between now and the meeting in Ottawa, despite an 11th-hour attempt to make this clear. This really risks slowing down the process.
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