Plastic revolution

Highlights and images for 2 March 2022

Nairobi, Kenya

UN Environment Assembly – UNEA

Celebration on the dais

On the final day of UNEA-5.2, hands are raised in celebration on the dais, as the resolution to “End Plastic Pollution: Towards an International Legally Binding Instrument” is adopted.

Wednesday, 2 March 2022 marked the final day of the resumed fifth session of the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA-5.2). Delegates, celebrating their achievements over the week, started the day by participating in a high-level segment convened under the theme, “Strengthening Actions for Nature to Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).”

To dive deeper, read the full daily Earth Negotiations Bulletin report.

During his opening statement, UNEA-5 President Espen Barth Eide exclaimed that this is a day for the history books and commended delegates for successfully negotiating, among others, a solid treaty on plastics, and a science-policy panel on chemicals, waste, and pollution. Amina J. Mohammed, UN Deputy Secretary-General remarked that “our health, economies, and futures depend on our abilities to make our future sustainable.”

Amina J. Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General of the UN

Amina J. Mohammed, UN Deputy Secretary-General 

Inger Andersen, Executive Director, UN Environment Programme (UNEP), called for implementation and backing at the highest political level, and underscored that the UNEA-5.2 resolutions will shift the needle if put into action. Felix Moloua, Prime Minister, Central African Republic, stressed that urgent, ambitious, and synergistic actions are needed to address the existential threats to nature.

Thereafter, a Leadership Dialogue themed "Strengthening Action for Nature to Achieve the SDGs," was held to showcase examples of concrete initiatives that people, governments, and organizations around the world are taking to heal our broken relationship with nature, whilst contributing to the achievement of several SDGs.

During the closing plenary, UNEA-5 adopted 13 resolutions and the ministerial declaration, and endorsed the political declaration of UNEA’s Special Session to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of UNEP (UNEP@50).

The adoption of the resolution: “End plastic pollution: Towards an international legally binding instrument” received an extended standing ovation. Several delegations praised UNEA for making history, recalling the declaration by Inger Andersen, UNEP Executive Director, that “this agreement on plastic pollution is the most significant agreement since Paris!”

The dais gives a standing ovation in response to the adoption of the resolution on a global plastic pollution treatyThe dais gives a standing ovation in response to the adoption of the resolution on a global plastic pollution treaty 2

The dais gives a standing ovation in response to the adoption of the resolution on a global plastic pollution treaty

Closing the plenary, Keriako Tobiko, Cabinet Secretary for the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Kenya, commended the UNEA Presidency, the Bureau, the Committee of Permanent Representatives, and paid tribute to all those who worked in the background to make this meeting a success, stating that there is “no better birthday present as UNEP turns 50.”

UNEA-5 President Espen Barth Eide announced, “We have made history!” He lauded delegates on achieving significant landmark resolutions, commending the spirit of good will. He expressed great honor and significance of using a recycled plastic gavel, closing the meeting at 6:28 pm.

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All ENB photos are free to use with attribution. For UNEA-5.2, OECPR-5.2, and UNEP@50, please use: Photo by IISD/ENB Kiara Worth.