Meeting online and in-person, delegates attending the resumed fifth session of the Open-ended Committee of Permanent Representatives (OECPR-5.2) convened for their first day on Monday, 21 February 2022.
Delegates met in an opening plenary, hearing from Inger Andersen, Executive Director, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). She emphasized that a global treaty on plastic pollution is likely to be the most significant global environment agreement since the Paris Agreement on climate change.
During plenary, Sonja Leighton-Kone, Acting UNEP Deputy Executive Director, introduced three budget reports, including: nature at the Heart of Sustainable Development; an update on the progress of implementation on the principle of equitable geographical distribution in UNEP’s recruitment strategy; and options for the future of the Global Environment Outlook.
Delivering their opening statements, several delegations anticipated that this meeting will establish an intergovernmental negotiating committee to address plastic pollution. On the consultations on UNEA-5.2’s political declaration, delegates agreed to permit Co-Facilitators Ado Lohmus (Estonia) and Saqlain Syedah (Pakistan) to conduct informal consultations on the draft.
Having considered administrative and procedural issues, the formal meeting was adjourned to allow for two informal working groups to convene. These groups are set to consider 17 draft resolutions, under five clusters:
- plastic pollution;
- biodiversity and nature-based solutions;
- green recovery and circular economy; and
- procedural matters.
Working Group 1 began discussions under Cluster 1, co-facilitated by Damptey Bediako Asare (Ghana) and Robert Bunbury (Canada). Delegates considered a Co-Facilitators' draft resolution on an international legally binding instrument on [marine] plastic pollution, which reflected the merging of the draft resolutions submitted by Peru and Rwanda, and Japan; and the draft resolution submitted by India on single-use plastics pollution.
Working Group 2 considered resolutions under Cluster 5 related to the future of the Global Environmental Outlook, submitted by the Secretariat. They also began discussions on the draft resolution on compliance with the principle of equitable geographic distribution in the composition of the UNEP Secretariat, submitted by Russian Federation.
In the evening, delegates also met to discuss the UNEA ministerial declaration.