26 Nov 2020

Venue: Online | Webex

Organization: Geneva Environment Network

The Geneva Beat Plastic Pollution Dialogues aim to facilitate further engagement and discussion among the stakeholders in International Geneva and beyond. In addition, they intend to address the plastic crisis and support coordinated approaches that can lead to more efficient decision making.

About the Dialogues

The world is facing a plastic crisis, the status quo is not an option. Plastic pollution is a serious issue of global concern which requires an urgent and international response involving all relevant actors at different levels. Many initiatives, projects and governance responses and options have been developed to tackle this major environmental problem, but we are still unable to cope with the amount of plastic we generate. In addition, there is a lack of coordination which can better lead to a more effective and efficient response.

Various actors in Geneva are engaged in rethinking the way we manufacture, use, trade and manage plastics. The Geneva Beat Plastic Pollution Dialogues aim at outreaching and creating synergies among these actors, highlighting efforts made by intergovernmental organizations and governments, businesses, the scientific community, civil society and individuals in the hope of informing and creating stronger synergies and coordinated actions. The dialogues will also look at what the different stakeholders have achieved at all levels, present the latest research and governance options.

In addition, although the dialogues target stakeholders from all continents, they primarily aim to encourage increased engagement of the Geneva community in the run-up to various global environmental negotiations, such as:

  • UNEA-5 (1st and 2nd sessions) in February 2021 and February 2022
  • BRS COPs in July 2021
  • SAICM ICCM5 in July 2021

This first session of dialogues will end in February 2021 to build momentum towards the first session of UNEA-5. It will aim to facilitate further engagement and discussions among the International Geneva stakeholders and actors across the regions and support coordinated approaches that can lead to more efficient global decision making. It will also intend to provide a platform to further carry the discussion from the recently conclude Ad Hoc Open-Ended Expert Group (AHEG) on Marine Litter and Microplastics towards UNEA-5 part 2 in 2022.

The Plastics and Waste session is the first dialogue to be organized leading to and making recommendations towards the High-Level Dialogue on Plastic Governance Dialogue in February 2021.

The dialogues are organized in collaboration with the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions Secretariat, the Center for International Environmental Law, the Global Governance Centre at the Graduate Institute, Norway, and Switzerland.

Plastics and Waste Session

Consumption of plastics is increasing and, as a result, more and more plastic waste is being created. Today, plastic waste and marine plastic litter are global environmental problems addressed by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the international community.

A number of initiatives and activities exist aiming at addressing the plastic waste problem and eliminating plastic litter entering the oceans. There is also a growing recognition for new governance models to be explored to address these trends.

A Global Partnership on Marine Litter was launched at the Rio+20 Conference in 2012 and various resolutions have been adopted at the United Nations Environment Assemblies on the challenges posed by marine plastic debris and microplastics, asking to address such materials at source. Governments, businesses and civil society organizations have been encouraged to make bold commitments to beat plastic pollution. The Ad Hoc Open-Ended Expert Group on marine litter and microplastics was established in response to the resolution UNEP/EA.3/Res.7, on marine litter and microplastics, adopted by the UN Environment Assembly at its third session in December 2017. It looks at international governance options for tackling plastic waste.

The resolution “Addressing single-use plastic products pollution” was ratified by members states at the 4th Session of the UN Environment Assembly, in March 2019. Member states are called upon to take measures to curtail and limit the ecological consequences of plastic waste. Various countries, regions and cities have imposed rules or bans on certain single-use plastics.

In May 2019, the 187 parties to the Basel Convention, the a treaty that controls the movement of hazardous waste from one country to another, took a major step forward in curbing the plastic waste crisis by adopting amendments, proposed by Norway, requiring exporters to obtain the consent of receiving countries before shipping most contaminated, mixed, or unrecyclable plastic waste. Countries in the Global South can use this tool to stop the dumping of unwanted plastic waste into their country. These will be effective as of 1 January 2021.

Leading experts invited to talk at this session will look at plastic waste figures, what the different stakeholders have achieved at all levels, and governance options being proposed to reduce or eliminate plastic waste.

Next Sessions

  • Plastics and Climate and Air Pollution | 10 December 2020
  • Plastics and Human Rights | 14 January 2021
  • Plastics and Health | 21 January 2021
  • Plastics and Standards | 28 January 2021
  • Plastics and Trade | 4 February 2021
  • Plastics in the Life Cycle/SCP | 11 February 2021
  • High-Level Dialogue on Plastic Governance



Europe Director, United Nations Environment Programme


Executive Secretary, Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions


Head of the Marine and Fresh Water Branch, Ecosystem Division, United Nations Environment Programme


Director, Chemicals Control and Management Centre, Ghana


Head of Global Affairs Section, Switzerland


Senior Adviser, Ministry of Climate and Environment, Norway


Director of the Environmental Health program, Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL)


This event will take place on Webex and Facebook live. Kindly register directly on the Webex platform.

Raise Your Question

If you are unable to attend the live event at 9:00 CET on 26 November, you have the possibility to ask questions in advance and we will raise them during the Q&A session or answer them online.


In addition to the live WebEx and Facebook transmissions, the video will be available on this webpage.