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Plastic pollution - a global crisis

Currently, more than 11 million metric tons of plastic are flowing into the ocean each year. Plastic waste has been found in all areas of the globe, from the deepest seas to the most remote mountains. It causes harm to wildlife and ecosystems, but also disrupts the livelihood of millions of people, as well as posing major risk to human health and the world economy.

Despite the exponential growth in voluntary initiatives and national regulations to tackle plastic pollution, there is no sign that leakage rates are slowing. In order to effectively deal with the plastic crisis, the world needs common rules and standards that address plastic throughout its entire lifecycle. 

In March 2022, UN Member States agreed on a mandate to negotiate a legally binding global instrument to end plastic pollution. This was a historic decision, and a major leap towards a plastic free ocean for all. Now, this framework will be negotiated throughout a series of meetings across the globe, and is expected to be in place by the end of 2024. 

The first Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee meeting, INC-1, took place 28. November - 2. December 2022 in Punta del Este, Uruguay. 

Towards a global plastic treaty
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. 

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