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UN Plastics Convention: Draft by November

As the next step for a global agreement against plastic waste, a first draft is to be elaborated by November 2023.


Representatives of around 170 UN member states agreed at the end of last week in Paris on a mandate to prepare a first draft for a global treaty against environmental pollution caused by improperly disposed plastic waste. The text is to be drafted by the negotiating committee of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) by the next round of negotiations scheduled for November in Nairobi. Until then, member states can submit their proposals to the Committee. There is still no agreement on the basic principles and the scope of the regulations to be agreed. A so-called High Ambition Coalition of about 50 states, including the EU, Canada, Chile, Norway, Rwanda and, more recently, Japan, wants to significantly reduce the production quantities of plastics. The German Federal Environment Minister Steffi Lemke (Bündnis 90/Die Grünen) also calls for an "ambitious" agreement. Other countries like China, the USA and Saudi Arabia want to tackle the problem through better recycling and waste management. Associations of the chemical and plastics industry such as the German Chemical Industry Association (VCI) and Plastics Europe Deutschland (PED), which support the UN agreement, also plead for more recycling and the creation of a circular economy for plastics. Accordingly, the outcome of the Paris negotiations is assessed differently. Environmental organisations calling for a far-reaching reduction of plastics production criticise that there was hardly any discussion of possible contents of the agreement in Paris and that only a "minimal result" was achieved with the mandate for a draft. Other experts such as WWF Germany and the Alfred Wegener Institute in Bremerhaven assessed the negotiations more positively, according to press reports. The vast majority of countries had advocated for an ambitious agreement and it was a success that despite the difficult negotiations a mandate for a first treaty text could still be achieved.


  • (June 2, 2023)
  • FAZ (June 4, 2023, June 5, 2023)
  • Photo: BVK/Baretto

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