A first draft for the UN Treaty on Plastic PollutionReading time : 2 minutes
On September 4, 2023, the United Nations Environment Programme issued a "zero draft" of the Treaty on Plastic Pollution, which will serve as a basis for future negotiations.
At the end of the INC-2 negotiations held in Paris from May 29th to June 2nd, 2023, it had been agreed that a “zero draft” of a plastic pollution treaty would be elaborated, in order to lay the foundations for the adoption of a binding instrument.
The draft treaty in question was adopted last Monday.
2/ Content of the draft
For each issue, the draft outlines several options that States will be able to discuss and choose from. For example, for the “Objective” section of the treaty, the following options are presented:
- Option 1: “The objective of this instrument is to end plastic pollution, including in the marine environment, and to protect human health and the environment“.
- Option 2: “The objective of this instrument is to protect human health and the environment from plastic pollution, including in the marine environment“, with the following sub-options for the end of the phrase:
1.1 “by ending plastic pollution”.
1.2 “based on a comprehensive approach that addresses the full life cycle of plastic”.
1.3 “through the prevention, progressive reduction and elimination of plastic pollution throughout the
life cycle of plastic by 2040″.
1.4 “through, inter alia, managing both the utilization of plastics and plastic waste, while contributing
to the achievement of sustainable development”.
On one hand, the draft seems to contain some rather ambitious provisions. As underlined by the Human Rights Watch, it “proposes options to address the full life cycle of plastics, from reducing production to eliminating the use of the most hazardous plastics, with the goal of ending the export and recycling of plastics containing harmful chemicals”.
On the other hand, it “lacks an explicit reference to human rights, promotes recycling, and omits phasing out fossil fuel as a key measure to reduce plastic production”. Moreover, there are still placeholders on crucial issues such as the preamble of the treaty, definitions, principles, and its scope.
3/ What are the next steps?
This draft will serve as a basis for the third round of negotiations that is to be held in Nairobi from November 13 to November 19, 2023.
To learn more about the second round of negociations on a Plastics Treaty (INC-2), please visit this page: Second Round of Negotiations for a UN Treaty on Plastic Pollution
To learn more about the first round of negociations on a Plastics Treaty (INC-1), please visit this page: UN Treaty on Plastic Pollution: Success for a Milestone Negotiation