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UN Treaty on Plastic Pollution: Success for a Milestone Negotiation

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The first round of negotiations around the forthcoming treaty on plastics pollution in Punta del Este, Uruguay, saw the Parties agreeing on a production-to-disposal approach.

UN Treaty on Plastic Pollution: Success for a Milestone Negotiation

The first round of negotiations for a Global Plastics Treaty concluded in Uruguay on 2 December 2022. The mandate for such a negotiation was issued in the course of the UN Environment Assembly in Nairobi. This conference paved the way for a historic, legally binding international instrument aimed at ending the plastic era.

The resolution that was adopted in Punta del Este in December adopts a holistic approach that takes into account the whole life cycle of plastics. Not forgetting that 99% of global plastics are made from fossil fuels, the texts acknowledges that addressing plastic pollution implies a strong regulation of its production.

Around 450 million tons of plastic are produced every year around the globe, and producers warn that this figure could triple by 2060. Less than 10% of it is recycled, as the vast majority of packaging and plastic products are landfilled or even abandoned as long-lasting litter.

Despite being very procedural – forthcoming negotiations taking place in Paris in March 2023 should bring more substantial, material commitments – this round of conversations and negotiations brought the majority of the Parties on the common ground of a whole-life approach, addressing plastic pollution from production to disposal.

Human rights through protection of the Environment were densely discussed, proving that the parties commonly understand the social, political and economic implications of the problem we have with plastics. Cuting plastic production and dependance toward fossil fuels, decreasing pollution after disposal, giving means to local communities to live in a healthy and clean environment: here are the main issues that should be discussed in Paris next March.