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World leaders meet in Canada to draft treaty to combat plastic pollution

Canada plastic treaty
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The fourth session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee to develop an international legally binding instrument on plastic pollution, including in the marine environment (INC-4), opened in Canada’s capital, Ottawa. The session aims to advance negotiations so that the Committee can finalize, at its fifth session (INC-5) in November, the text of the instrument.

Members will also decide on intersessional work – informal INC sessions taking place between the official meetings – required between the INC-4 and INC-5, to support the further development of the text.

INC-4 is the penultimate stage of the negotiations; it follows three earlier rounds of negotiations: INC-1, which took place in Punta del Este, in November 2022, INC-2, which was held in Paris in June 2023, and INC-3, which happened in Nairobi in November 2023.

“We are seeing convergence on eliminating the uses that are problematic and avoidable. We will continue to need plastic for specific uses, such as renewable energy technologies. But there is growing agreement that short-lived and single use can go,” said Inger Andersen, Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme.

“We can be proud of what we have achieved. But a job half-done is a job not done. Time is against us – both in terms of finalizing the instrument and how much more the planet can take. As we deliberate, plastic pollution continues to gush into ecosystems,” she added. “So, I ask for INC-4 to show energy, commitment, collaboration, and ambition. To make progress. And set the stage for INC-5 to finalize an instrument that will end plastic pollution, once and for all.”

Fourth Session (INC-4)

At the sixth session of the United Nations Environment Assembly in February 2024, Canada convened the other host countries of the INC process – France, Kenya, the Republic of Korea, and Uruguay – for a Ministerial meeting, under the umbrella of the Host Country Alliance, to galvanize momentum toward the global instrument.

See also
The Paris Agreement by UN Climate Change Conference


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