International negotiators agree to draft a treaty to end plastic pollution

International negotiators have agreed to hammer out a treaty to end plastic pollution with a draft expected in November.

The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) said in a statement on Saturday that the second session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee, which formed to draft a legally binding instrument on plastic pollution, concluded in Paris. with a mandate for the chair of the committee to prepare a draft before the next session in Nairobi, Kenya, in November.

The statement said that more than 700 delegations from Member States and 900 observers from non-governmental organizations attended the meeting.

UNEP Executive Director Inger Anderson said she was encouraged by the progress made at the session and urged member states to continue their momentum towards creating a treaty on this topic.

“The world is calling for a broad, innovative, inclusive and transparent agreement that builds on science and learns from stakeholders, and ensures support for developing countries,” Anderson said.

She said plastic had been a “default option” for too long and the committee had the power to transform that. She said products should be redesigned to use less plastic, especially “unnecessary and problematic” ones.

Anderson added that systems and products should be redesigned to increase opportunities for reuse and recycling, and packaging and shipping could also use less plastic.

The United Nations Environment Assembly originally requested in March 2022 that the UNEP director form the committee to include binding and voluntary commitments on plastic pollution. The committee began its work in the second half of last year and is expected to be completed by the end of 2024.

Most plastics are created from fossil fuels.

A coalition of governments led by Norway and Rwanda is pushing for plastic pollution to end completely by 2040 by reducing production and placing limits on certain chemicals used in plastic. Other countries with big oil industries like the United States, China and Saudi Arabia are focusing more on recycling and have called for country-based rules instead of equal limits.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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