Global Agriculture

UK Helps Secure Progress Towards New Legally Binding Treaty to End Plastic Pollution

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01 May 2024, UK: Progress has been made to agree a global treaty to end plastic pollution by the end of the year in the fourth session of negotiations held this week.

The fourth Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC-4) held in Canada, saw over 2,500 delegates, representing 170 Members States, come together and exchange views on the ambitious treaty that demands urgent action on plastics.  

The UK strongly supports an ambitious treaty covering the full lifecycle of plastics, from production and consumption to waste management.  

The UK, played a key role in securing the following outcomes: 

  • Environment Minister Rebecca Pow announced that the UK will champion efforts to make progress on problematic and avoidable plastic products and these plans proposals have been incorporated into the draft treaty text.
  • A programme of work will be conducted ahead of the fifth meeting, giving expert groups the opportunity to meet and contribute to the design of the treaty.
  • The draft text of the treaty was analysed to check efficiency streamlined to support the next round of negotiations at INC-5.
  • The INC agreed to establish a legal drafting group, which will ensure legal clarity in the text of the future agreement.

Environment Minister Rebecca Pow said:  

As a member of the High Ambition Coalition, the UK has continued to push for an ambitious treaty covering the full lifecycle of plastics. 

There remains substantial differences between parties on the level of ambition for the treaty , which has meant that progress has been slower than we would have hoped on some key areas. 

Nonetheless the UK was able to incorporate its proposal on problematic and avoidable plastics into the draft treaty text, and we are pleased that countries have agreed to progress these plans in the coming months. 

There remains significant work to do to secure an agreement at the final negotiations in November, and the UK is committed to securing the best outcome for our oceans, communities and wildlife. 

The UK, along with 64 other members of the High Ambition Coalition (HAC), recently signed the Joint Ministerial Statement which called for a range of mandatory provisions to be included in the forthcoming treaty. The HAC have called for the treaty to address the full lifecycle of plastic.

The final INC meeting will take place in South Korea at the end of the year, which will be the fifth negotiating session between United Nations member states.

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