March 2024

Advocating for Ambition: QUNO and Partners Urge Switzerland to Lead in Plastic Treaty Negotiations


Ahead of the fourth session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC-4) for a global plastics treaty, scheduled in Ottawa, Canada, from April 23 to 29, the Quaker United Nations Office (QUNO), in collaboration with a coalition of civil society organizations and international entities, drafted a letter urging the Swiss government to adopt an ambitious stance in the negotiations. This initiative, part of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), aims to develop an international legally binding instrument on plastic pollution (ILBI).

In our joint letter, we urge the Swiss government to “show leadership and encourage and inspire other countries”.

“We call Switzerland to support the reform of subsidies downstream of the fossil fuel industry, especially considering that 99% of the world's plastics are derived from petrochemicals and are manufactured using energy derived from fossil fuels”.

“We call on Switzerland to be unwavering advocates for a strong, effective and ambitious treaty rooted in science and transparent negotiations and for the outcomes to be met.”

QUNO’s work is driven by Quaker values and, at INC-4, its Sustainable and Just Economic Systems (SJES) programme will continue to emphaise the need for a treaty that respects human rights, environmental integrity, and the sustainable use of the planet’s resources. 

As INC negotiations have been unfolding over the last three sessions, QUNO has remained committed to collaborating with international partners to secure a future free from the devastating impacts of plastic pollution.

Central to QUNO’s message is the imperative for strong regulations on the production and disposal of plastics, emphasising supply-and-demand controls, rigorous management of chemicals and microplastics, and encouraging the redesign of systems to support reuse over single-use plastics. 

QUNO also calls for the end of subsidies that facilitate the unchecked production and consumption of plastics, urging for financial reforms that align with environmental sustainability. 

Furthermore, QUNO advocates for the introduction of mandatory trade permits to regulate the transboundary movement of plastic products and their components, aiming to bolster environmental protection across national borders.

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