NAIROBI, Nov 19: – The third session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee to develop an international legally binding instrument on plastic pollution, including in the marine environment (INC-3), concluded Sunday in Nairobi, Kenya, with agreement on a starting point for negotiations at the fourth session (INC-4).
More than 1,900 delegates participated in INC-3, representing 161 Members, including the European Union and over 318 observer organizations – UN entities, intergovernmental organizations, and non-governmental organizations. The third session follows INC-1 in Punta del Este, Uruguay, in November 2022 and INC-2 in Paris, France, in May/June 2023, a press release issued by United Nations Environment Programme said.
Over the course of INC-3, Members discussed the Chair’s Zero Draft, went through a compilation of text to include all the views of Members, prepared a validated, co-facilitator merged text, and found a way forward on issues not discussed as yet.
The INC also elected two Vice-Chairs to the Bureau and a new Chair of the Committee, Ambassador Luis Valdivieso of Ecuador replacing outgoing Chair Gustavo Adolfo Meza-Cuadra Velasquez.
“I am encouraged by the forward motion of the negotiations towards a treaty that ends plastic pollution. I thank the Chair, Ambassador Meza-Cuadra, and the Members of the INC for their determination to get to the finish line and put us on course for a world where plastic pollution is a problem of the past,” said Inger Andersen, Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).
“Continue to be ambitious, innovative, inclusive, and bold. And use these negotiations to hone a sharp and effective instrument that we can use to carve out a better future, free from plastic pollution.”
Officially closing the session, Meza-Cuadra Velasquez said: “These past 10 days have been a significant step forward towards the achievement of our objective to develop an international legally binding instrument to end plastic pollution. But it has also recalled us that much remains to be done both in narrowing down our differences and in developing technical work to inform our negotiations.”
Thanking Meza-Cuadra for his leadership, incoming INC Chari, Luis Vayas said: “I urge all of us to listen to the scientific community and the diversity of stakeholders that can and do bring evidence, experience, and knowledge to these negotiations. Their work is evolving and developing every day.”
He also said the best will be done to ensure the success of the INC process, delivery of the instrument and implementation to end plastic pollution, protecting human health and the environment.
The 4th session of the INC-4 has been set to take place in Ottawa, Canada, in April 2024, and INC-5, in November/December 2024 in the Republic of Korea.
The INC is tasked with developing an international legally binding instrument on plastic pollution, including in the marine environment, henceforth referred to as “the instrument”, which could include both binding and voluntary approaches, based on a comprehensive approach that addresses the full life cycle of plastic.