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Global plastics agreement negotiations end: ‘More questions than answers’

Global plastics agreement negotiations end: ‘More questions than answers’

But within the environmental movement, the final outcome of the negotiations is now the subject of criticism. According to Graham Forbes of Greenpeace USA, who has followed the talks, the negotiations, now more than halfway through, are heading toward “disaster.”

– The Global Plastics Convention must reduce plastic production by at least 75 percent by 2040. We cannot protect climate, biodiversity or global public health if we do not reduce plastic production. He comments that governments are allowing fossil fuel interests to push negotiations toward something that will undoubtedly worsen the plastic problem and the climate crisis.

There was no agreement on several points

One of the hopes before the meeting was, among other things, to agree on how to reduce plastic production. In the first draft, three options were proposed: a global target applicable to all countries, a global target with nationally determined contributions or voluntary targets for countries.

Sweden, which is negotiating with the European Union, has pushed for globally binding targets. Instead, fossil oil-dependent countries pursued voluntary targets, resulting in no agreement.

In addition, negotiators failed to agree on whether the treaty should require bans and phase-outs of plastics that are considered the most harmful and most easily avoidable. About 100 countries support it, but 50 countries oppose the proposal or feel insecure.

“It ended up having more questions than answers.”

In addition to Greenpeace, the final result was criticized by Environmental Investigation Agency Jecon campaign director Ken Hammerson.

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These negotiations ended with more questions than answers about how to bridge the political gap and create a treaty that stimulates positive change.

He also criticizes the WWF, saying the meeting in Nairobi ended in a “deadlock.”

There will now be no formal action before the next round of negotiations in April in Ottawa, delaying discussions on measures needed to end the plastic pollution crisis. Negotiators have been tasked by the UN Environment Assembly with developing a treaty to stop plastic pollution. “Every delay hands problems over to future generations,” says Inger Näslund, senior ocean expert at WWF, in a commentary.

The UN’s goal is to have the final version of the Global Plastics Convention ready by the end of 2024.

Before that, Gustavo Adolfo Meza-Cuadra Velasquez, who chaired the meeting during the week, said that “there is still a lot to be done to reduce differences of opinion and to develop the technical work.”