Global negotiators have agreed to craft an initial draft treaty to end plastic pollution, a preliminary but crucial step toward tackling one of the most lasting sources of human waste.
Environmental advocates cautiously welcomed the outcome of five days of UN talks in Paris on plastic pollution, but expressed concern that the petroleum industry and some governments would water down the eventual treaty. Most plastic is made from fossil fuels.
Delegates at the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee for Plastics agreed on Friday evening to produce an initial draft before their next meeting in Kenya in November, participants said.
The committee is charged with developing the first international, legally binding treaty on plastic pollution, on land and at sea.
A coalition of “high-ambition” governments led by Norway and Rwanda, along with environmental groups, want to end plastic pollution altogether by 2040 by slashing production and limiting some chemicals used in making plastics.
Over 2,000 participants from nearly 200 countries, including governments and observers, took part in this week’s talks. Waste pickers and some advocacy groups said they were initially denied access to the talks.
Then debates about rules of procedure – including whether decisions would require consensus or just two-thirds approval – dragged out the proceedings, participants said.
But they ultimately agreed to produce a draft treaty by November, which keeps things on track to produce a final version by the target deadline of late 2024. This week’s talks were the second of five rounds of meetings due to take place to complete the negotiations. (AP)