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

Posted on June, 01 2021

NEW YORK, June 1 - WWF welcomes the launch today of the Ocean Day Plastic Pollution Declaration, now endorsed by 74 countries, which calls for negotiations to commence on a new legally binding agreement to combat plastic pollution.

Commenting on the declaration, which was presented at the UN High-Level Debate on the Ocean, Eirik Lindebjerg, Global Plastics Policy Leader, WWF International, said:
“Plastic pollution is increasing at an accelerating pace and has become a major global concern. It is estimated that an alarming 11 million tonnes of plastic waste leak into the world’s oceans every year, and these numbers are projected to increase four-fold by 2050, with devastating effects on people and the planet.”

“A new global treaty to stop plastic pollution is urgently needed to drive accountability, set binding plastic pollution reduction targets and harmonize regulatory approaches globally. The governments endorsing this declaration recognise the global nature of the problem and the required solution. This is the first time such a large group of governments have spoken so clearly of the urgent need for countries  to start negotiating a new treaty on plastic pollution. The momentum is there to make this treaty a reality. ”

The declaration comes in the lead-up to the first ever global Ministerial Conference on Marine Litter and Plastic Pollution, to be hosted by Ecuador, Ghana, Germany and Vietnam on 1–2 September this year. In the declaration, governments commit to working towards the establishment of an Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee at the UN Environment Assembly, scheduled for February 2022, with a mandate to prepare a new global legally binding agreement to tackle plastic pollution.

The declaration is open for post-event endorsements by UN Member States. WWF calls on all governments to endorse this declaration and contribute to the development of an ambitious and effective new treaty.


Notes to the Editor

The Ocean Day Plastic Pollution Declaration

About the declaration, 

The Ocean Day Plastic Pollution Declaration was presented by Antigua and Barbuda on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) at the high level thematic debate hosted by the President of the UN General Assembly. AOSIS is hosting the declaration which has so far been endorsed by 74 governments. 


The high-level thematic debate on the ocean and Sustainable Development Goal 14: Life Below Water was convened by the President of the UN General Assembly at United Nations Headquarters in New York on Tuesday 1 June 2021 in collaboration with the governments of Portugal and Kenya – co-hosts of the 2nd United Nations Ocean Conference, as well as H.E. Mr. Peter Thomson, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for the Ocean.


More than 50 companies, 2 million people and a growing number of governments have so far called for a new UN treaty on plastic pollution.


See link for further information on WWF’s plastic campaign.
New UN declaration calls for the development of a new plastic pollution treaty
New UN declaration calls for the development of a new plastic pollution treaty
© Magnus Lundgren / Wild Wonders of China / WWF