Plastic Pollution INC-1
Last updated: 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.
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:
- Organization of the INC-1 and its scenario note | 1 November 2022 | 12:00 – 13:30 CET
- Potential elements; structure; glossary of key terms; and final provisions | 3 November 2022 | 12:00 – 13:30 CET
- Plastics science; and overview of existing funding | 9 November 2022 | 12:00 – 13:30 CET
- Priorities, needs, challenges and barriers to end plastic pollution at national level; and existing information that might assist policymakers | 11 November 2022 | 12:00 – 13:30 CET
- Stakeholder engagement; and cooperation and coordination with relevant regional and international conventions, instruments and organizations | 15 November 2022 | 12:00 – 13:30 CET
Member States engaged in the High Ambition Coalition to End Plastic Pollution also hosted special sessions in Geneva:
- Briefing on the High Ambition Coalition to End Plastic Pollution | Permanent Missions of Ecuador, Norway, Peru, Rwanda and Switzerland to the UN in Geneva | 2 November 2022 | 10:00-11:30 CET
- Plastic Pollution and the Small Island Developing States: the role of the High Ambition Coalition to End Plastic Pollution | Permanent Mission of the Dominican Republic to the United Nations Office | 23 November 2022 | 15.00 – 16.30 CET
For more information on the HAC position, read the HAC Member States Joint Statement for INC-1.
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.
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.
Follow the negotiations live through UNEP’s YouTube channel and in the Earth Negotiations Bulletin.
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)
- Submission by the BRS Secretariat in preparation for the first session of the INC
- Third meeting of the Basel Convention Plastic Waste Partnership working group | Punta del Este, Uruguay, from 23 to 25 November 2022
Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL)
- Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) Submissions: Quick View of Submissions on Clustering and Sequencing of Work | With Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) & Greenpace | November 2022
- Sequencing of Work of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee | With Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) | July 2022
- Wins for Public Participation in Plastics Treaty Negotiations at Agenda and Rule-Setting Meeting | CIEL | 2 June 2022
- Toward a New Instrument Addressing the Full Life Cycle of Plastics : Ensuring Meaningful and Effective Stakeholder Involvement in the Intergovernmental Environmental NegotiationsTowards a Global Treaty to End Plastic Pollution | May 2022
- Sowing a Plastic Planet: How Microplastics in Agrochemicals Are Affecting Our Soils, Our Food, and Our Future | May 2022
- Comparison Table on the Rules of Procedures to negotiate a Plastics Treaty | CIEL | 4 May 2022
- Convention on Plastic Pollution: Toward a new global agreement to address plastic pollution | With Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), Gaia & Break Free From Plastic | June 2020
- CIEL’s work on Plastic
International Labour Organization (ILO)
- ILO submission to the INC process
- Guidelines for a just transition towards environmentally sustainable economies and societies for all | February 2016
International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
- IUCN Position Paper for INC-1 Plastic Pollution Treaty
- UNEA Resolution – ‘End Plastic Pollution’ – and IUCN role in implementation of the Treaty | IUCN | 9 March 2022
Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
- Statement on key human rights considerations for the negotiations | 30 November 2022
World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD)
- Written submission from WBCSD to the INC process | July 2022
- Business brief: Upcoming UN treaty on plastic pollution | April 2022
- Policy and Global Treaty on Plastic Pollution
World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)
- Towards a Treaty to End Plastic Pollution: Global Rules to Solve a Global Problem | November 2022
- Written submission from WWF on recommendations for the organisation of work of the INC to develop an international legally binding instrument | July 2022
- Impacts of plastic pollution in the ocean on marine species, biodiversity and ecosystems | February 2022
- Success Criteria for a New Treaty on Plastic Pollution | September 2021
- Plastics: The Costs to Society, the Environment and the Economy | September 2021
- WWF’s work on Plastic
Break Free From Plastic
- Civil society and rightsholders ask UNEP for a more meaningful multi-stakeholder engagement process and to keep polluters out of global plastics treaty negotiations | Break Free From Plastic | 26 November 2022
- 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)
- IPEN’s Quick Views for INC1 | IPEN | November 2022
- Plastics Treaty INC1 Platform | IPEN | November 2022
- Global Advocates Tell Plastics Treaty Delegates: Our Health is in Your Hand | IPEN | 26 November 2022
- Twenty Nations Call for a Strong Global Agreement on Plastic Pollution | IPEN | 23 August 2022
- IPEN Plastics Treaty Platform | Protecting human health and the environment from toxic chemicals | IPEN | May 2022
High Ambition Coalition to End Plastic Pollution
- HAC Member States Joint Statement INC–1
- High Interest in High Ambitions for Plastics Treaty | Norway in Geneva | 7 November 2022
- Press Release: Countries aim to end plastic pollution by 2040 | High Ambition Coalition to End Plastic Pollution | 22 August 2022
- Make it bold, make it binding – towards an effective plastics treaty | Christina Dixon of Environmental Investigation Agency | 21 November 2022
- What does a High Ambition Coalition to End Plastic Pollution mean for the global plastics treaty? | EIA | 22 August 2022
- Initial Considerations for Plastics Treaty INC – Briefing | EIA | 26 April 2022
- At UN Talks, Countries Divided on Approach to Plastics Agreement | Human Rights Watch | 7 December 2022
- Hopes and dreams for the upcoming Plastics Treaty | Zero Waste Europe | 5 December 2022
- Plastic treaty talks go beyond recycling to add public health debate | Sustainable Plastics | 5 December 2022
- Kenya And South Africa Announce Just Transition Initiative For Waste-pickers & Other Workers In The Plastic Value Chain | International Alliance of Waste-pickers | 2 December 2022
- Countries split on plastics treaty focus as UN talks close | Reuters | 2 December 2022
- Battle lines drawn in talks on new plastics treaty | Climate Home News | 2 December 2022
- New Zealand highlights connection between fossil fuel and plastic industries at INC1 | SPREP | 2 December 2022
- Campaigners Demand Deep Cuts to Plastic Production as Global Treaty Negotiations Ramp Up | Common Dreams | 1 December 2022
- Structure of New Plastics Treaty: Specific or Framework? | IISD | 30 November 2022
- Plastic pollution: Three problems that a global treaty could solve | Tosin Thompson in Nature | 28 November 2022
- The world can’t recycle its way out of the plastics crisis |
- Global plastic treaty should address chemicals | Tridibesh Dey et al., in Science | 24 November 2022
- Advancing towards Zero-Pollution: EU joins call for ambitious global agreement to end plastic pollution by 2040 | European Commission | 24 November 2022
- Global Plastics Treaty: Opportunity to Protect Rights | Human Rights Watch | 23 November 2022
- Global survey sees seven out of 10 people supporting global rules to end plastic pollution | WWF | 23 November 2022
- Why All Eyes Are On The Upcoming Negotiations To End Plastic Pollution | Forbes | 23 November 2022
- Plastics tsunami: Can a landmark treaty stop waste from choking the oceans? | Meera Subramanian | Nature | 22 November 2022
- Chemicals could undercut global plastics treaty | Federal Laboratory for Materials Testing and Research | 22 November 2022
- Integrating a Chemicals Perspective into the Global Plastic Treaty | Zhanyun Wang & Antonia Praetorius | Environmental Science & Technology Letters | 22 November 2022
- A long and winding road: chemicals and the plastics value chain | Back to Blue | November 2022
- An Introduction to Plastics and Toxic Chemicals | International Pollutants Elimination Network (IPEN) | November 2022
- Australia joins global efforts to end plastic pollution | Australian Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water | 16 November 2022
- Global Businesses & NGOs Endorse a Common Vision for an Ambitious Global Plastics Treaty | Business Coalition for a Global Plastics Treaty | 21 September 2022
- New Coalition Calls For ‘Ambitious’ Global Plastic Treaty | Forbes | 21 September 2022
- Norway and Rwanda are leading a coalition working to eliminate plastic pollution. The US isn’t a part — for now | Business Insider | 26 August 2022
- Protecting the ocean from plastic and chemical waste | Economist Impact | 25 July 2022
- A global plastics treaty to protect endocrine health | Leonardo Trasande | The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology | 22 July 2022
- Op-Ed: How the United Nations could avoid silencing voices during Plastic Treaty negotiations | Jane Patton & Tadesse Amera | Environmental Health News | 30 May 2022
- Scientists call for cap on production to end plastic pollution | Norwegian University of Science and Technology | 28 April 2022
Who To Follow on Twitter
- Jyoti Mathur-Filipp, Executive Secretary, Secretariat for the Plastics INC | @MathurFilipp
- INC Chair, Gustavo Meza-Cuadra Velásquez from Peru | @GustavoMezaCua1
- High Ambition Coalition to End Plastic Pollution | @HACplastic
- Center for International Environment Law | @CIEL_tweets | Andrés Del Castillo | Giulia Carlini | Carroll Muffett | Jane Patton | Rachel Radvany | David Azoulay
- International Union for Conservation of Nature | @IUCN_Plastics
- International Pollutants Elimination Network | @ToxicsFree | Vito A. Buonsante
- Break Free From Plastic | @brkfreeplastic
- Environmental Investigation Agency | @EIA_news | Christina Dixon
- International Alliance of Waste Pickers | @globalrec_org
- Scientists engaged in plastics research & INC process | Zhanyun Wang | Steve and Deonie Allen | Bethanie Carney Almroth
- Business Coalition for a Global Plastics Treaty | @WWF & Ellen MacArthur Foundation @circulareconomy
- Inger Andersen, Executive Director, UNEP | @andersen_inger
- Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions | @brsmeas