INC-3 talks hit roadblock: nations clash over plastics treaty ambitions

2023 11 20T163818Z 3 LYNXMPEJAI03G RTROPTP 4 UN PLASTIC TALKS scaled
FILE PHOTO: A boy walks on a beach polluted by plastic trash in Bali, Indonesia, April 17, 2023. REUTERS/Ian Ransom

Last week’s INC-3 discussions, held at the UN Environment Programme in Nairobi, aimed to advance the initial draft of the Plastics Treaty issued in September.

Observers, including Greenpeace, assert that a few nations with significant petrochemical interests hindered progress at INC-3 by engaging in disputes over the precise language of operationalising the Treaty.

INC-3 concluded without an agreement on reducing virgin plastics production. The initial draft proposed three options: a global reduction target for all nations, a global target with nationally determined contributions, or leaving targets to individual nations.

NGOs claim that petrostates advocated for the latter approach. However, the High Ambition Coalition, comprising 60+ members, including major European economies, blocked these nations from embedding it in the Treaty.

WWF reported that most representatives worked toward common ground, but many nations in Asia, the Pacific, and Latin America were pushing for a robust agreement due to their disproportionate impact from global plastic pollution.

Approximately 140 nations prefer binding rules over voluntary targets.

Greenpeace USA’s Graham Forbes said, “Governments are letting fossil fuel interests drive negotiations toward a treaty that will worsen the plastic problem and accelerate climate change.”

Squabbles also emerged over whether the Treaty should mandate bans and phase-outs on the most harmful plastics. About 100 nations support this approach, while over 50 are either opposed or undecided.

Disagreements persist on how nations should collaborate until the next official talks in Canada next spring, with no agreed programme of intersessional work.

Environmental Investigation Agency campaigner Jacon Kean-Hammerson warned of a treacherous path towards a strong final agreement, with uncertainties about bridging political divides.

WWF US’s Erin Simon urged countries to “reject tactics blocking the treaty process” and muster the political will to address the crisis before the UN’s goal of finalizing the Treaty by the end of 2024.

INC meeting chair Gustavo Adolfo Meza-Cuadra Velasquez noted that much remains to be done both in narrowing down our differences and in developing technical work to inform our negotiations.

More from Qonversations


antusias penonton fiba world cup di indonesia arena gbk 3 169

GBK declared first sport venue to use 100% renewable energy

Global Affairs

2024 02 27T010919Z 2 LYNXNPEK1Q00C RTROPTP 4 USA BIDEN 1

Biden hopes for ceasefire in days as Israelis, Hamas take part in Qatar talks

Global Affairs


US and European powers back Dutch PM Rutte as next NATO head

Global Affairs

2024 02 22T100901Z 1727462627 RC2L76A64CPE RTRMADP 3 MIGRATION ITALY ALBANIA

Albania ratifies migrant deal with Italy

Front of mind
Screenshot 2024 02 09 at 10.47.42

How to win elections in Africa – Chike Ukaegbu

Ismail Akwei

Presidential elections in Africa have gone through many cycles since the 1950s when Ghana became the first country […]

Read more
Screenshot 2024 01 21 at 07.33.15 scaled

How China can help revive agribusiness in the Caribbean

Eleanor Sa-Carneiro

Against the backdrop of the Caribbean, Trinidad and Tobago’s Fine Cocoa Company is setting sail into the waters […]

Read more