On 2 March 2022, heads of state, environment ministers and other representatives from 175 nations, endorsed the resolution “End Plastic Pollution: Towards an internationally legally binding instrument” at the UN Environment Assembly. The goal is to fight plastic pollution with an international legally binding agreement, to be finalised by the end of 2024.
The resolution establishes an Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC), which will begin its work this year, aiming to complete a draft legally binding agreement by the end of 2024.
The upcoming agreement will 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. Its foundations will be open discussion, informed by science, and report back on progress throughout the next two years.
“This is the most significant environmental multilateral deal since the Paris accord,” said Inger Andersen, Executive Director of UNEP. “UNEP will work with any willing government and business across the value chain to shift away from single-use plastics, as well as to mobilise private finance and remove barriers to investments in research and in a new circular economy”.
The UN Deputy Secretary-General, Amina Mohammed added “One thing we know for certain is that protecting nature is at the core of achieving the 2030 Agenda and the goals of the Paris Agreement. If we are to ensure food and water security for all people around the world, we need to prevent ecosystem collapse."
The resolution is a landmark steps towards a multilateral intervention to fight plastic pollution on a world scale and as such will shape public environmental policies all over the world in the years to come.