About 430 million tons of plastics are produced worldwide every year. About two-thirds of this amount is simply thrown away, damaging the environment and the food chain.
The intergovernmental negotiating committee, at its third session, is expected to focus on a draft international legally binding instrument on plastic pollution that was issued earlier this year, with the aim of concluding negotiations by the end of 2024.
No “disposable economy”
The devastating impact of plastic pollution on ecosystems, the climate, the economy and human health costs the planet $300 billion to $600 billion a year, according to the committee’s executive secretary, Jyoti Mathur-Filipp. Plastic production is expected to double over the next 20 years if no action is taken.
Organizers are calling for a transition from a “disposable economy” to a “circular economy”. The session will include 12 side events focusing on different aspects of plastic pollution, including sustainable production and consumption, the transition to ‘circular plastic’ and much more.
The authorities emphasize the need to limit the production of plastics, eliminate single-use and short-lived plastic products and switch to non-plastic substitutes.
“Text in hands”
At a press conference ahead of this week’s intense negotiations that will result in what delegates hope will be a binding global agreement, committee chairman Gustavo Meza-Cuadra Velasquez stressed that we are entering “a very important phase of negotiations… for the first time, we are opening the debate with a text in our hands.”
As the international community grapples with the plastic pollution crisis, the results of this third committee meeting could represent a significant step forward. A preliminary draft of the text of the international legally binding instrument, prepared by its chair with the support of the committee’s secretariat, is now available in the six official languages of the United Nations.
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