IPEN International Pollutants Elimination Network

Fourth UN meeting on plastics wraps with a plan for future work

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As the gavel came down at 3:18 a.m. at the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) meeting to create a global treaty to end plastic pollution, the room breathed an exhausted sigh of relief. For the first time, the negotiating committee had agreed on a plan for work to be done before the next meeting on the treaty, scheduled for a scant 7 months from now.

Along with over 2,500 participants from 170 countries, a sense of urgency filled the halls at the Shaw Center, in Ottawa, Ontario, for the fourth intergovernmental negotiating committee meeting (INC-4) the last week of April. The next meeting, INC-5, is also the final one, since the 2022 mandate is that negotiations on the treaty be done by the end of 2024.

Many participants are calling the meeting a win. Several negotiators congratulated INC chair Luis Vayas Valdivieso on the final night and expressed gratitude that the committee could agree on the work to be done ahead of INC-5, to be held in Busan, South Korea, Nov. 25 –Dec.1.

“The fourth INC is a major turning point,” says Pamela Miller, cochair of International Pollutants Elimination Network, an advocacy group. The draft moved forward with the suggested additions of language on chemicals of concern and PPP, although neither has been finalized in the text. That those topics weren’t eliminated is positive, she says.

Read the full story from Chemical and Engineering News.