The landmark resolution addresses the entire plastic lifecycle, including production, design and disposal.
Watching ‘to be cured’
“Amid geopolitical uncertainty, the United Nations Environment Council (UNEA-5) represents multilateral cooperation at its best,” said Council President and Norwegian Minister of Climate and Environment Espen. Barth Eide said. “Plastic pollution has grown into an epidemic. With today’s solution, we are officially in the direction of treatment. “
Plastic pollution has grown into an epidemic. With today’s solution, we’re officially on the way to a cure. Espen Barth Eide
The resolution, which builds on three initial draft resolutions from different countries, establishes the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) to begin work this year, to finalize a draft legally binding agreement. management by the end of 2024.
It, in turn, is expected to introduce a legally binding instrument that will reflect diverse alternatives to addressing the full lifecycle of plastics, the design of recyclable products and materials. use and recycling, and the need to strengthen international cooperation to facilitate access to technology, enabling the revolutionary plan to be realized.
United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) said it will host a forum later this year, alongside the first session of the INC, to share knowledge and best practices in different parts of the world.
UNEP / Cyril Villemain
‘Triumph of planet earth’
It will be based on open discussion, informed by science, and report back on progress over the next two years. Finally, upon completion of the work of the INC, UNEP will convene a diplomatic conference to adopt its outcome and open it for signature.
It’s an insurance policy for this generation and future generations, so they can live with plastic and not be destroyed by it. Inger Andersen
“Today marks a victory for planet earth over single-use plastics. This is the most important multilateral environmental agreement since the Paris accord. It’s an insurance policy for this generation and future generations, so they can live with plastic and not be destroyed by it. ” said Inger Andersen, Executive Director of UNEP.
“Make it clear that the INC’s mandate does not allow for a two-year pause for any stakeholder,” she added. “Parallel to negotiations on an internationally binding agreement, UNEP will work with any government and business of goodwill along the value chain to transition away from single-use plastic, as well as mobilize private financing and remove barriers to investment in research and the new circular economy”.
The scale of the problem
UNEP says plastic pollution has grown from two million tons in 1950 to 348 million tons in 2017, becoming a $522.6 billion global industry. It is expected to double capacity by 2040.
The United Nations agency says the impact of plastic production and pollution on the tri-planetary crisis of climate change, loss of nature and pollution is a disaster in plastic production, the According to the United Nations, exposure to plastic is harmful to human health and has the potential to affect fertility, hormones, metabolism and nerves. active, while open burning of plastic contributes to air pollution.
By 2050, greenhouse gas emissions related to the production, use and disposal of plasticswill account for 15% of allowed emissions, with the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5°C (34.7°F) suitable for Paris Agreement about climate change.
More than 800 marine and coastal species are affected by this pollution through ingestion, entanglement and other hazards, while around 11 million tons of plastic waste end up in the ocean each year. This number could triple by 2040.
The historic resolution, entitled “Ultimate Plastic Pollution: Towards an International Legally Binding Instrument”, was passed three days after its conclusion. UNEA-5.2 The meeting was attended by more than 3,400 face-to-face and 1,500 online participants from 175 United Nations member states, including 79 ministers and 17 senior officials.
The guild will be followed by “[email protected]”, Two-day Special Session of the Councilmarks the 50th anniversary of UNEP, where Member States are expected to address how to build a resilient and inclusive post-pandemic world.
SDGs Core Nature Protection: UN Deputy Head
In her comment to the United Nations Environment General Assembly, Deputy Secretary-General, Amina Mohammednote that the theme is based on “Strengthening Actions for Nature to Achieve Sustainable development goals“.
“One thing we know for sure is that protecting nature is at the core of our achievement Agenda 2030 and the goals of the Paris Agreement,” she said.
“If we want to ensure food and water security for everyone in the world, we need to prevent ecosystem collapse.”
COP26 underscores the need to keep the 1.5-degree Celsius target within reach, she said, adding that it is now known that climate impacts are “the biggest divisive factor: they impact vulnerable communities everywhere; and they disproportionately impact the ability of developing countries to prosper and develop.”
She says protecting ecosystems will help us continue to close the critical greenhouse gas emissions gap by 2030 – “a gap that unfortunately is widening, not closing.”
Ms. Mohammed noted that progress on a legally binding global agreement on plastic pollution offers “an opportunity to really make a difference, an opportunity to show once again the value of multilateralism”. , emphasizing that Africa has taken the lead.
34 of 54 countries have enacted single-use plastic bag laws, she said, and I encourage more countries to follow suit.
“Today, there is no area on the planet affected by plastic pollution, from deep-sea sediments, to Mount Everest. The planet deserves a truly multilateral solution to a disaster that affects all. us. An agreement that speaks from source to sea.”