By Checky Abuje
The third session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee to develop an international legally binding instrument on plastic pollution, including in the marine environment (INC-3), concluded today in Nairobi, Kenya, with remarkable progress towards the objective of eliminating plastics from the environment. The focus is now set for the fourth session in Canada.
More than 1,900 delegates participated in INC-3, representing 161 Members, including the European Union and over 318 observer organizations within the UN entities, intergovernmental organizations, and non-governmental organizations.
Areas of focus during the one week meeting at the UNEP headquarters in Nairobi included the Chair’s Zero Draft which went through a compilation of text to include all the views of Members, prepared a validated, co-facilitator merged text, and found a way forward on issues not discussed as yet.
“I am encouraged by the forward motion of the negotiations towards a treaty that ends plastic pollution. I thank the Chair, Ambassador Meza-Cuadra, and the Members of the INC for their determination to get to the finish line and put us on course for a world where plastic pollution is a problem of the past,” said Inger Andersen, Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).
Infer emphasised the need for innovative, inclusive, and bold approaches to end plastic pollution, and urged member states, Non governmental Organisations and other players to use these negotiations to hone a sharp and effective instrument that we can use to carve out a better future, free from plastic pollution.
The outgoing Chair of the INC, H.E. Mr. Gustavo Adolfo Meza-Cuadra Velasquez, thanked the Government of Kenya and the UN in Nairobi for hosting the session, as well as the Member States, observers, co-facilitators and support staff of the discussions.
“These past 10 days have been a significant step forward towards the achievement of our objective to develop an international legally binding instrument to end plastic pollution. But it has also recalled us that much remains to be done both in narrowing down our differences and in developing technical work to inform our negotiations,” he said.
Quoting Nelson Mandela, he added: “I invite all of you to reflect on as we engage in the upcoming INCs: Sometimes, it falls upon a generation to be great. You can be that great generation. Let your greatness blossom.”
“I urge all of us to listen to the scientific community and the diversity of stakeholders that can and do bring evidence, experience, and knowledge to these negotiations. Their work is evolving and developing every day,” said incoming INC Chair, Ambassador Luis Vayas.
The process of coming up with internationally binding instrument including marine pollution is midway that calls for Members and all stakeholders for the success of the INC process, delivery of the instrument and implementation to end plastic pollution, protecting human health and the environment.
“I am pleased to see that the Nairobi spirit of collaboration, compromise and commitment has been in full force during our session in the city that birthed the INC process. We saw this during our Preparatory Meeting on 11 November, which set the stage for the positive momentum we achieved at this session, and in the constructive and cooperative manner in which you all engaged throughout this week,” said Jyoti Mathur-Filipp, Executive Secretary of the INC Secretariat.
“Let us carry the Nairobi spirit of collaboration, compromise and commitment forward into our next sessions, as we continue on our journey towards a strong, ambitious and inclusive instrument to combat plastic pollution,” she added.