The UN Environment Assembly has approved a resolution to create the world’s first ever global plastic pollution treaty, describing it as the most significant green deal since the 2015 Paris climate agreement.
This means that work will now begin to set out legally binding rules on plastic waste which should be finalised by the end of 2024. It is expected to present a legally binding instrument, which would address the full lifecycle of plastics, the design of reusable and recyclable products and materials, and the need for enhanced international collaboration to facilitate access to technology, capacity building and scientific and technical cooperation.
As signatories to As You Sow's 'Plastic Solutions Investor Alliance' we signed an investor letter calling for a strong, binding treaty, which was presented at the UNEA conference.
The main asks included:
- A coordinated international response that covers the entire life cycle of plastics, not just improvements to waste management systems.
- Reducing plastic use at least in line with the one-third cut in demand recommended by the Pew Charitable Trusts’ Breaking the Plastic Wave report.
- A circular economy approach, eliminating problematic and unnecessary plastics and focusing upstream to design out waste.
- Decoupling plastic production from consumption of fossil fuels. Agreement on harmonized definitions and standards.
- A coordinated international approach on national targets, action plans, and minimum requirements.
- Common reporting and monitoring standards at corporate and national levels.
- International capacity building mechanisms to support technology transfer, citizen education, and funding to scale innovative initiatives.
This represents a positive step forward, and we will closely monitor the progress of this work.