© Peter Chadwick / WWF
Global Plastic Pollution Treaty


Plastic has very quickly become a big part of our everyday lives. Every year, the world produces about 430 million metric tonnes of plastic. While plastic is a very useful material in many ways, over 90% of the plastic that pollutes our planet is made up of single-use plastics, such as plastic cutlery, and microplastics, such as those added to cosmetic products.

Currently, an estimated 9 - 14 million tons of plastic waste ends up in our oceans every year. Plastic waste has been found in all areas of the globe, from the deepest seas to the most remote mountains. It causes major harm to wildlife and ecosystems, but also disrupts the livelihood of millions of people, as well as posing significant risk to human health and the world economy.

Plastic production also contributes to enormous amounts of greenhouse gasses. The UN Environment Programme estimates that if we continue with business as usual, by 2040 plastic production could account for 19% of the world's total greenhouse gas emissions.

How do we solve this?

Plastic pollution doesn’t recognise borders. This is a global issue that requires a global response, and no single country can solve it on its own.
In 2022, UN Member States agreed to start negotiating a new global treaty to end plastic pollution. This is an historic step towards protecting wildlife, the environment, and humans from the dangerous effects of plastic pollution. Now it is crucial that we ensure the treaty is ambitious and effective enough to truly address the plastic crisis, and end plastic pollution once and for all.

This treaty will be a legally binding, international agreement defining what measures to take, how we must implement them and when.

The negotiations provide an historic opportunity to unlock the systemic change that the world needs to tackle this escalating environmental crisis. Failure by negotiators to agree on an ambitious treaty is not an option.

During the two-year negotiation period alone, the total amount of plastic pollution in the ocean is tipped to increase by 15%. Currently, more than 2,000 animal species have encountered plastic pollution in their environment, and nearly 90% of studied species are known to be negatively affected.

New UN declaration calls for the development of a new plastic pollution treaty

© Magnus Lundgren / Wild Wonders of China / WWF

Why do we need a global treaty with global rules?

Global plastic pollution could triple by 2040 unless we take immediate action. Voluntary measures and country-driven efforts  have proven ineffective in stopping plastic from polluting and poisoning our planet. In fact, it is only getting worse. Over the past five years, the number of national and voluntary actions to tackle the problem have increased by 60%, yet plastic pollution has simultaneously continued to increase by 50%. 

We need a new set of binding and equitable global rules that regulate the production and consumption of high-risk plastic.
The unique potential of a global treaty is to hold all countries to a high common standard of action. This will create a level playing field that incentivizes and supports national actions. The power of moving beyond fragmented national plans is demonstrated by other successful environmental agreements. For example, through global bans, the Montreal Protocol has phased out more than 99% of ozone-depleting substances since its establishment, setting the ozone layer on a gradual path to recovery.

What should the treaty look like?
An ambitious and equitable global plastic treaty will include effective measures along the full lifecycle of plastics. The treaty must accelerate a just transition and be built on the voices of the communities that are most affected by plastic pollution. 

In short, the treaty must establish common, binding and specific global rules, including:
  • Global bans, phaseouts and phasedowns of problematic and avoidable plastic products and uses, and of plastic polymers and chemicals of concern. 
  • Global requirements for product design and systems, securing a safe and non-toxic circular economy, prioritizing reuse, improving recycling, and securing the environmentally sound management of plastic waste. 
  • Strong implementation support measures, including sufficient financial support and alignment of public and private financial flows for implementation in low income countries.
How does the treaty negotiation process work?
The decision to start negotiating such a treaty at UNEA 5.2 in March 2022 was a result of years of campaigning  from NGOs, scientists, civil society and businesses, as well as political dedication and will.

Now the treaty text is being negotiated through a series of meetings around the world. The Intergovernmental Negotiation Committee (INC) is the name of the forum where governments meet to negotiate the content of the future treaty, and these meetings are key moments in the negotiation process. All UN member states are welcome to participate, while civil society, right-holder groups and industry are permitted to attend as observers.

The treaty is set to be finalized by the end of 2024, and formally adopted in 2025. After that, there will be annual COPs (Conference of the Parties) similar to the process for the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Convention on Biological Diversity, The Basel Convention on Trade in Hazardous Waste/the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, and other international agreements.

Negotiation milestones and meetings:
  • INC-1 -  Punta del Este, Uruguay 28 November - 2 December 2022
  • NC-2 -  Paris, France 29. May - 2. June 2023
  • INC-3 - Nairobi, Kenya 13.-19. November 2023
  • UNEA 6 - Nairobi, Kenya, 26. February - 1. March 2024
  • INC-4 - Ottawa, Canada, 23. - 29. April 2024
  • INC-5 - Busan, Republic of Korea,  25. November - 1. December 2024 [tentative]
© naturepl.com/Jeff Rotman / WWF


Towards a global treaty to end plastic pollution
November 2023
The INC-3 takes place in Nairobi, Kenya. Allthough majority of countries support a robust treaty with global measures, a handful of low-ambition countries stalled negotiations and blocked further progress. The meeting ended without a concrete plan for intersessional work. 
September 2023
The much anticipated 'zero draft' is published.This comprehensive first draft of the global plastic pollution treaty sets the stage for the upcoming negotiations at INC-3 in November.
June 2023
The second negotiation meeting, INC-2, for the new treaty takes place in Paris, France. 134 governments call for common, global rules for plastics across its entire lifecycle, and a mandate for developing a zero draft of the treaty is secured. 
28. November
The first negotiating meeting (INC-1) took place in Punta del Este in Uruguay 28. November - 2. December 2022. During the meeting, more than 145 countries backed calls for strong global rules to stop plastic pollution. 
August 2022
Norway and Rwanda, joined by 18 other countries, launch the High Ambition Coalition to End Plastic Pollution by 2040.
02. March 2022
A historic moment! UN Member States adopts Resolution 5/14, titled “End Plastic Pollution: Towards an international legally binding instrument”.
March 2022
More than 2.2 million individuals signs WWF's plastics petition. The petition is handed over to the UNEA president and Norwegian Minister of Climate and Environment, Espen Barth Eide, during UNEA in Nairobi.
January 2022
More than 70 leading businesses and financial institutions call on governments to develop and adopt a comprehensive and robust legally binding treaty on plastic pollution.
December 2021
During COP22 in Barcelona, the Mediterranean countries declare their support for a global plastic treaty. With this, 156 countries, more than two-thirds of the UN's member states, have expressed their official support for a global agreement to stop plastic litter. 
December 2021
Over 700 civil society groups and NGOs from 113 countries signs a Civil Society Manifesto, urging UN Member States to negotiate a legally binding plastic treaty.
September 2021
The world's first ministerial conference on plastic pollution and marine litter is being held in Geneva, hosted by Ecuador, Germany, Ghana and Viet Nam. During the conference, 15 additional countries declare their support for a global plastic agreement.
June 2021
The UN Ocean Day Declaration on Plastic Pollution is launched in New York, after an initiative from the Alliance of Small Island States. 74 countries are asking for negotiations on a new legally binding global plastics agreement to start as soon as possible.
October 2020

EU member states commit at ministerial level to work for a new global agreement against plastic litter. 

October 2020
A group of 29 global companies launches a business manifesto calling for a new treaty on plastic pollution. This comes after the Boston Consulting Group, Ellen MacArthur Foundation and WWF launches a report on the business case for a new treaty on plastic pollution highlighting the potential gains of harmonized global rules on plastic pollution.
July 2020
55 countries set up a group at the UN headquarters in New York that will work to put a new global agreement in place. Norway, Maldives and Antigua & Barbuda takes on the responsibility of leading the group.
November 2019
African Ministers of Environment commit to work for a global agreement on plastic pollution in a joint policy message.
August 2019
The leaders of the Pacific countries commit to work for a global agreement to stop plastic in the ocean.
July 2019
15 Caribbean countries adopt a declaration on plastic litter, calling for a global agreement against plastic in the ocean.
April 2019
The Nordic countries (Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Iceland) adopt a Nordic plastic declaration, in which they advocate a new global agreement against plastic in the ocean.
March 2019
At the UN Environment Assembly's meeting in Nairobi, a majority of states agreed to further work to establish a global agreement against plastic in the ocean.
December 2017
The UN Environment Assembly establishes an expert group to explore potential global actions to support the long-term elimination of marine litter and plastic pollution. WWF, together with other environmental groups, puts forward for the first time the idea of a global and binding agreement against plastic pollution. The expert group meets twice in 2018 in Nairobi and Geneva, resulting in a majority of government experts recommending exploring the idea of a global binding agreement further. 

Maria Alejandra Gonzalez

Regional Plastics Policy Coordinator - LAC

WWF Colombia

Email Maria Alejandra

Inger Haugsgjerd

Global Advocacy Manager, Plastic Pollution


Email Inger

Eirik Lindebjerg

Global Plastics Policy Manager


Email Eirik

Marilyn Mercado

WWF Plastics Policy Regional Coordinator – Asia

Email Marilyn

Zaynab Sadan

Regional Plastics Policy Advisor - Africa

WWF-South Africa

Email Zaynab

Florian Titze

Policy Advisor Internationale Biodiversitaetspolitik


Email Florian