Mise à jour: 07 Dec 2022

The first session of the INC to develop an international legally binding instrument on plastic pollution, including in the marine environment, took place in the Punta del Este Convention and Exhibition Centre from 28 November to 2 December. Actors from International Geneva are highly engaged in the run-up to, as well as during and after, this major milestone to kick-off negotiations towards a global plastics treaty.

About the INC Process

For several years, plastic pollution has been a major issue raised at the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA) and other global fora. On 2 March 2022, 175 countries participating in UNEA-5.2 got together and adopted the resolution 5/14 End plastic pollution: towards an international legally binding instrument, recognizing that “the high and rapidly increasing levels of plastic pollution represent a serious environmental problem at a global scale, negatively impacting the environmental, social and economic dimensions of sustainable development”. This historic resolution mandates the UNEP Executive Director to convene an International Negotiating Committee (INC) to develop and adopt a legally binding instrument on plastic pollution based on a comprehensive approach that addresses the full life cycle of plastics. This landmark decision thus launched the process towards a global plastics treaty, which should be developed by the end of 2024.

Following the ad hoc open‑ended working group (OEWG) meeting in May 2022 in Dakar, Senegal, which proposed draft rules of procedure for the work of the INC, Member States met in Punta del Este, Uruguay, from 28 November to 2 December for the first meeting of the INC to develop an international legally binding instrument on plastic pollution (INC-1).


More than 2,300 delegates from 160 countries attended the first session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee to develop an international legally binding instrument on plastic pollution (INC-1), which concluded last Friday in Punta del Este, Uruguay, under the chairmanship of H.E. Gustavo Meza-Cuadra (from Peru – will alternate to Ecuador after INC-3). Substantive discussions took place on the objective, the scope and the structure of the agreement. The objective will cover “protect the environment and human health from plastic pollution, and ultimately end plastic pollution.” The election of the bureau was postponed to INC-2, to be hosted by the government of France, from 22 to 26 May 2023. The governments of Kenya, Canada, and the Republic of Korea offered to host subsequently INC-3, INC-4 and INC-5. Read more in the Earth Negotiations Bulletin.


Preparatory Events

Geneva Beat Plastic Pollution Dialogues

Through the Geneva Beat Plastic Pollution Dialogues, the Geneva Environment Network and its partners support actors in the Geneva community and beyond, that are engaged in the INC process. Ahead of INC-1, the co-conveners of the Geneva Beat Plastic Pollution Dialogues hosted a briefing in Geneva and online on 2 November. The briefing provided an overview of organizational matters, expected outcomes and stakeholder perspectives in the run-up to INC-1. The recording, summary and supporting documents are available through the link below.

Other Preparatory Sessions

The Secretariat of the INC hosted a series of technical briefings ahead of INC1:

Member States engaged in the High Ambition Coalition to End Plastic Pollution also hosted special sessions in Geneva:

On 17 November, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) hosted a pre-INC event on “Building capacity for the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) towards an international legally binding instrument to end plastic pollution“, as part of its Plastic Pollution Meeting Series.

INC-1 Programme

The provisional agenda and the suggested flow of the meeting are available online. Delegates are invited to consult the scenario note for more details. As requested by the OEWG, the Secretariat has prepared 10 documents ahead of INC-1, compiling using information for Member States and staekholders. These include options for the structure of the instrument, relevant key concepts, a glossary of key terms, a review of plastics science, overview of existing funding, information on cooperation with other instruments, a note on challenges and barriers at the national level, overview of stakeholder engagement frameworks under other instruments, and further information relevant for policy-makers.

Provisional timetable – INC1 (updated 22 November 2022)

Follow the negotiations live through UNEP’s YouTube channel and in the Earth Negotiations Bulletin.

Multi-Stakeholder Forum

As requested by the UNEA resolution 5/14, the UNEP Executive Director is convening a hybrid multi-stakeholder forum in the margin of INC-1. Held on 26 November, the Forum aimed to facilitate the exchange of information and gather perspectives from different stakeholders across the plastics life cycle. The Forum provided insights on the challenges and opportunities that should be considered in the negotiations and existing actions to shift the needle on plastic pollution. The key outcomes and messages from the Forum will be summarized during INC-1.

The Forum was open to all stakeholders, including governments, the private sector working on different stages of the plastics life cycle, scientists and researchers, the finance sector, civil society groups, including the informal sector, indigenous people, and youth. However, civil society groups, Indigenous Peoples, and other stakeholders pointed with concern to the presence of those companies responsible for plastic pollution and hidden industry influence at the forum.

Information Sessions and Parallel Events

In the margins of the meeting, various events took place, both in-person and in a hybrid format. Find below a selections of events featuring Geneva-based organizations and partners.

  • Establishing common global rules for an effective treaty on plastic pollution | WWF
    29 November 2022, 13:00 UYT | More information soon
  • A Seat at the Table – The Role of the Informal Recycling Sector in Plastic Pollution Reduction, and Recommended Policy Changes | USAID, GRID-Arendal, International Solid Waste Association Women of Waste Task Force, Women in Informal Employment, and Globalizing and Organizing
    29 November 2022, 13:30 – 14:30 UYT | Hotel L’Auberge | Registration
    A diverse set of panelists will discuss considerations for INC negotiations and share experiences of international and national efforts to recognize informal workers and involve them in formal frameworks and agreements. See the related report from GRID-Arendal here.
  • Emerging fault lines: what kind of plastics treaty will we have? A live webinar from INC-1 in Uruguay | GRID-Arendal, Norwegian Academy of International Law and The Fridtjof Nansen Institute
    30 November 2022, 8:30 – 9:30 UYT (12:30 – 13:30 CET) | Parque Hotel Jean Clever & Zoom | Registration
    The event will raise some of the main issues of contention in the current negotiations towards an international legally binding instrument on plastic pollution, drawing on the recently published report Crafting an effective treaty on plastic pollution: Emerging fault lines in the intergovernmental negotiations. Delegates and other actors will give real-time insights into the discussions taking place at INC-1 and share their views on the journey towards the new treaty.
  • Health, Chemicals, Plastics & a Non-Toxic Circular Economy | IPEN, Endocrine Society, Switzerland & Uruguay
    30 November 2022, 14:00 UYT | More information soon
  • From Voluntary to Mandatory Actions: The Business Case for a Global Plastics Treaty | Business Coalition, co-convened by WWF and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation
    30 November 2022, 14:00 UYT | More information soon
  • Plastic Pollution, Law and Justice | IUCN World Commission on Environmental Law, Uruguay and UNEP
    30 November 2022, 14:00 UYT | More information soon

International Geneva at INC-1

As a global hub for environmental governance, in particular for chemicals and waste issue, Geneva hosts many organizations whose work is highly relevant for the development of a new instrument on plastic pollution. Learn more about the organizations active in Geneva to tackle the plastic crisis through our Plastics and the Environment special section on “Addressing the Plastic Crisis from Geneva”. As we head toward INC-1, we also highlight activities, documents and resources related specifically to this meeting below. Organizations are listed in alphabetical order.

Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions (BRS Secretariat)

Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL)

International Labour Organization (ILO)

International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)

Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD)

World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)

Additional Resources

Break Free From Plastic


  • Recommendations to INC1 (English Español) propose a negotiations roadmap and other objectives for the first round of negotiations.
  • Defining plastic products, materials and polymers: a proposal (English Español) also suggests how defining criteria could set the scope for a global treaty.

International Pollutants Elimination Network (IPEN)

High Ambition Coalition to End Plastic Pollution


Other resources

Who To Follow on Twitter

#PlasticsTreaty #INC1