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Global Plastics Treaty: Opening Plenary Spills into Second Day

Working groups that will negotiate a global plastics treaty were established today, Nov. 14, and began their work at the U.N.’s third session toward forging the agreement, as the opening plenary session spilled over into a second day in Nairobi.

The agenda for the third session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC-3), which runs through Sunday, was revised to allow the opening-day plenary to continue today from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. INC Chair Gustavo Meza-Cuadra opened the floor to more statements from member nations before spelling out details of the three contact groups that will work throughout this week.

The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) seeks to develop a legally binding instrument regulating plastic pollution worldwide, with negotiations being completed by the end of 2024.

Meza-Cuadra established three contact groups to discuss and refine the “zero draft” document (UNEP/PP/INC.3/4) created after INC-2:

  • Contact group 1: Reviews parts 1 and 2. The group’s co-facilitators are from Palau and Germany.
  • Contact group 2: Reviews parts 3 and 4. Co-facilitators are from Australia and Ghana.
  • Contact group 3: Will consider a range of elements, including elements discussed at Saturday’s preparatory meeting and issues not discussed at INC-2. Co-facilitators are from France and Indonesia.

Meza-Cuadra noted that he will meet daily with group co-facilitators and has set the following deadlines:

  • Co-facilitators are to report their groups’ progress during Thursday’s stock-taking plenary, with Groups 1 and 2 providing input to Group 3 regarding intersessional work.
  • Delegations are to send text proposals to contact groups ahead of Thursday’s plenary by 10 a.m.
  • Contact groups are to conclude work by noon Saturday.
  • Final group reports are to be given during Saturday’s plenary.

The UNEP resolved in March 2022 to pursue a global plastics treaty, followed by negotiating sessions INC-1 in Uruguay from Nov. 28 to Dec. 2, 2022, and INC-2 in Paris from May 29 to June 2, 2023. INC-4 is scheduled for April 21 to 30, 2024, in Ottawa. UNEP’s goal is to complete negotiations by the end of 2024.

The full INC-3 meeting schedule is available online.

Watch INC-3 sessions, as well as sessions from INC-1 and INC-2.

The zero draft text and other INC-3 working documents can be found on the UNEP website.

Read a Q&A with Jyoti Mathur-Filipp from UNEP.

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