First round of global plastic treaty talks held in Uruguay
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The goal of the negotiation process, scheduled to conclude by the end of 2024, is to develop an international legally binding instrument to stop plastic pollution.
The first meeting of the intergovernmental negotiating committee (INC-1) of the United Nations (UN) negotiations for a legally binding global plastics treaty has ended.
The talks were held from Nov. 28 to Dec. 2 in Punta del Este, Uruguay. The discussions were set in motion in March of this year, when the UN Environment Assembly meeting in Nairobi unanimously adopted a UN resolution to end plastic pollution.
The goal of the talks is to develop an international legally binding instrument (ILBI) to stop plastic pollution.
This first meeting of INC-1 in Uruguay consisted mainly of procedural matters – INC has the mandate to consider the whole life cycle of plastics and their negative impacts on marine and terrestrial ecosystems and can include new topics, such as the contribution of plastics to global warming, the toxic substances associated and their impacts on human and ecosystem health. During INC-1, delegates considered, among other things, the potential elements to be included in the ILBI, its structure, scope, and objectives.
Representatives from 160 countries were involved in this meeting, which is the first of five that are scheduled to happen over the next two years.
Several common themes and desired actions emerged from this first INC-1 meeting, reports said, including scaling up a circular economy for plastics, where used plastics are captured and remade into new plastics; designing products for circularity; enabling partnerships between the private sector and governments to attain financing to improve waste management; and enhancing transparency on chemical additives.
The International Council of Chemical Associations (ICAA), which had delegates at INC-1, said in a statement that the plastics industry has already invested billions of dollars in the transition toward a circular economy and that chemical additives are rigorously tested and regulated in many countries. It also highlighted the important role that additives play in making plastics safe and robust in a range of medical, green energy, and automotive applications. The ICAA – which includes the Chemistry Industry Association of Canada as a member – concluded its statement by congratulating the UN and government of Uruguay for hosting a “productive meeting that moves nations closer to a future where plastics remain in the economy and not in the environment.”