November 2023

INC-3: Plastic pollution meetings need direction to avoid failure

The recent United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) meeting on ending plastic pollution raised concerns about the pace and direction of negotiations to finalise a legally binding treaty.

This was UNEP’s third session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee — it was called INC-3 — and it concluded last week in Kenya, Nairobi. INC aims to gather various stakeholders to create an agreement that would hold governments accountable to enforce laws to curb plastic pollution.

The Quaker United Nations Office (QUNO) has been participating in various INC meetings held in various countries. QUNO’s Sustainable and Just Economic Systems (SJES) programme lead Andres Naranjo has been attending INC meetings. In Kenya, he participated in various consultations, delivered impactful statements and engaged in meaningful dialogue with stakeholders. 

“Our work at INC-3 has laid a foundation for ongoing advocacy, and we remain committed to a treaty that embodies our collective aspiration for a sustainable, just, and healthy world. The decisions made in these negotiations will shape our environmental legacy and our commitment to future generations,” said Naranjo after INC-3.

But he pointed out that the “ballooning size of the Revised Zero Draft to over 100 pages, without a clear agenda, underscores the need for a major course correction to avoid what could become, as the Centre for International Environmental Law states, a ‘polite but massive failure’ in Ottawa, during INC-4 next year”. 

Naranjo added: “As we look towards future sessions, we will continue to collaborate closely with our partners to ensure that the treaty is ambitious, inclusive, and grounded in environmental integrity and human rights principles.”

“Our focus has been on advocating for the removal of subsidies that contribute to plastic production and chemicals of concern, as well as promoting a just transition towards sustainable systems like reuse, refill, and package less systems. 

“These measures are crucial in mitigating plastic pollution and align with our vision for the International Legally Binding Instrument (ILBI).”

Naranjo says QUNO’s SJES programme would “despite the challenges remain steadfast in our advocacy”.

“We share the urgency of other stakeholders in addressing the coordinated campaign by fossil fuel and petrochemical exporters that risks derailing meaningful progress,” he said.

#FWCC #QUNO #INC3 #PlasticPollution #SustainableFuture #EnvironmentalAdvocacy #HumanRights

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