An End To Plastic Pollution In Sight – WWF applauds first draft of Global Plastic Pollution Treaty, Calls for Stronger Commitments in Upcoming Negotiation

WWF Africa Regional Leads at the just ended African Ministerial Conference on the Environment. AMCEN

Cape Town– WWF commendes a comprehensive first draft of the global plastic pollution treaty that sets the stage for the upcoming treaty negotiations in November.

In March 2022, UN Member States agreed to start negotiating a new global treaty to end plastic pollution, a historic step towards protecting wildlife, the environment, and humans from the harmful effects of plastic pollution. As such, The intergovernmental negotiating committee (INC) was established to develop this treaty, beginning its work in the second half of 2022 with the ambition of completing its work by the end of 2024.

The first negotiating meeting (INC-1) took place in Punta del Este, Uruguay in November 2022. During the meeting, more than 145 countries backed calls for strong global rules to stop plastic pollution. The second negotiation meeting, INC-2, for the new treaty took place in Paris, France, in June 2023, and the third negotiation meeting, INC-3, is set to take place in Nairobi, Kenya, in November 2023.

While the first draft of the new treaty, also known as the ‘zero draft’, offers many effective solutions that can help put an end to the plastic crisis, WWF cautions it also includes a variety of weaker options. With this uncertainty in the treaty text it means there are many challenges ahead in the negotiations to reach our goal for a planet free from plastic pollution.

“As highlighted in the first and second INC sessions, it is important to begin discussing means of implementation from the onset. Adopting a business-as-usual approach will only triple global plastic production by 2040, with devastating effects. It is imperative that there is an equitable transition into combatting the plastic pollution crisis” Said zaynabsadan, Regional Plastics Policy Advisor, Africa.

“While Africa only produces 5%  and consumes 4% of global plastic volumes, our people, land, sea scapes, and the economy are experiencing devastating impacts.  African leaders have long championed the call for a set of harmonized, binding global rules to tackle plastic pollution, so while the first draft is a welcome move, we must ensure the treaty is indeed globally binding and prohibits high-risk plastics.”

The zero draft is the first time countries have put to paper what the global plastics treaty should look like and comes at the midway point of negotiations – it lands ahead of the third round of talks out of a total of five – for finalising the treaty in 2024.

The draft provides the foundation as the negotiations turn from exploratory discussions to text talks. The draft is based on country inputs in the negotiations and reflects where countries currently stand.

WWF sees the inclusion of global bans on high-risk plastic products and polymers and chemicals of concern as crucial to eliminate the most harmful plastics and create a common global minimum standard. The draft also includes the option of developing common product design requirements to ensure a safe and circular economy for plastics.

In addition, the draft provides a sound basis for further discussions on establishing a robust financing mechanism that can support universal implementation in all countries based on a holistic approach and global solidarity.

Included as options are also several non-binding approaches that will not take the world closer to ending plastic pollution.

About WWF

WWF is an independent conservation organization with over 5 million supporters and a global network active in over 100 countries. WWF’s mission is to stop the degradation of the Earth’s natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature by conserving the world’s biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption.