Delegates worked to finalize an initial consideration of elements to be included in a future treaty at the first meeting of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC-1) to develop an international legally binding instrument (ILBI) on plastic pollution, including in the marine environment.
Want to dive deeper? Read the full Earth Negotiations Bulletin daily report.
Guided by INC Chair Gustavo Meza-Cuadra, Peru, delegates made rapid progress, addressing additional potential elements to be including in the future ILBI, including on:
- support for monitoring and evaluation of progress in, and effectiveness of implementation and national reporting;
- other aspects, including scientific and technical cooperation and coordination, research and awareness raising;
- stakeholder participation and action; and
- final provisions.
On monitoring, reporting, and evaluation, several delegations made concrete proposals highlighting their preference for, among others, non-burdensome reporting requirements on national actions addressing plastic pollution. A few were reticent, noting that it was premature to discuss these requirements without having a concrete idea of the obligations to be imposed on parties to the ILBI.
There was broad consensus on the importance of, and the need for, a treaty guided by scientific information. There were, however, some muted murmurs that the current landscape of plastic science may not be up to the challenge quite yet, with a few still questioning the risks of plastic pollution to human health. In response, several stakeholders pointed to ongoing work under other conventions and processes, including under the World Health Organization, addressing these risks.
Stakeholder engagement proved to be an interesting discussion, with most welcoming stakeholder inputs, but relegating these inputs to written submissions during the intersessional period. Significantly, the format of the multi-stakeholder forum came into question, with several delegations highlighting that the funds for the organization of this event may have taken away from financing the participation of developing country delegations.
They ended the day by considering the sequencing of work for future meetings of the INC. On this, there were suggestions for the establishment of contact groups. Some called for two contact groups addressing substance and institutional matters, while others called for multiple groups addressing issues related to particular stages of the lifecycle of plastics. Several delegations were adamant that running multiple contact groups in parallel would be a disservice to the process.
The Informal Group on Possible Options for the ILBI, and Modalities for Stakeholder Engagement met at various points throughout the day, with delegations discussing two textual proposals to inform INC-2, prepared by Co-Facilitators Daniela García, Ecuador, and Erin Silsbe, Canada. The first text is intended to facilitate the INC’s work and contains a request to the Secretariat to prepare a document with options for elements of the instrument, which does not prejudge what the committee might decide regarding the structure and provisions of the ILBI. The second text contains the modalities for multi-stakeholder engagement, inviting stakeholders to make written submissions to the work of the INC, and requests the Secretariat to convene a virtual multi-stakeholder dialogue during the intersessional period and to convene a multi-stakeholder forum in conjunction with the INC.
INC-1 is scheduled to conclude its work on Friday, 2 December 2022.