Wednesday marked the last day of the ad hoc open-ended working group (OEWG) to prepare for the intergovernmental negotiating committee (INC) to develop an international legally binding instrument on plastic pollution, including in the marine environment.
Meeting briefly in plenary at the beginning of the day, Robert Bunbury (Canada) reported that the informal working group tasked with addressing the rules of procedure had met into the night on Tuesday, reaching agreement on most of the rules at 1:00 am on Wednesday. OEWG Chair Cheikh Ndiaye Sylla (Senegal) then suspended plenary to allow for the informal working group to finalize their consideration of the outstanding draft rules of procedure.
When plenary reconvened, delegates heard a report from Sheila Aggarwal-Khan, UNEP, on the multi-stakeholder dialogues, held on the margins of the meeting. Delegates then discussed the organization of the multi-stakeholder forum for the exchange of information and activities related to plastic pollution, forwarding the corresponding document to the first session of the INC (INC-1). They agreed to submit additional comments and suggestions to the Secretariat by the end of June 2022.
The OEWG also agreed to forward the draft timetable of meetings to INC-1, with some delegations noting that some of the proposed dates may overlap with meetings of other conventions and bodies. Delegates welcomed Uruguay’s offer to host INC-1 in latter half of 2022. After some discussion, delegates agreed to forward the rules of procedure to INC-1, with brackets around alternative texts related to the voting rights of any regional economic integration organizations.
In parallel to the afternoon plenary, delegates also joined the final multi-stakeholder dialogue of the meeting, themed “Upscaling and redirecting finance, incentives and trade.” They considered the roles of banks in mitigating planetary challenges through financing solutions, managing risks and opportunities for stakeholders. They heard that trade policy can effect systems change, and that the airline industry is keen to replace single use plastics with sustainable alternatives. Delegates also considered the competitive advantages accorded by improving waste management systems.
OEWG Chair Sylla gaveled the meeting to a close at 4:08 pm, thanking delegates for their work to set the stage for the INC process to negotiate a treaty to end plastic pollution.