UN Plastic Pollution Treaty ‘one step closer’ to being realised, as negotiators in Paris agree to start developing a draft treaty with global rules to curb plastic pollution

Posted on June, 02 2023

WWF welcomes ‘tangible progress’ as the vast majority of countries show support for an ambitious and impactful treaty with binding global rules
Paris, France (2 June): The second negotiation meeting for the UN Global Treaty to End Plastic Pollution (INC-2) has provided another important step forward in global efforts to address the worsening plastic crisis. Concluding today, WWF strongly welcomes the ‘tangible progress’ made in the talks and the agreement by states to develop a first iteration of the treaty text (a ‘zero draft’) ahead of the next round of negotiations taking place in Kenya in November (INC-3).

Over the last week WWF has seen the vast majority of governments actively calling for an ambitious and impactful global treaty which includes a set of specific and comprehensive binding rules across the plastic life cycle. Many governments have also echoed WWF’s technical proposals, including global bans on high-risk plastic products and polymers, reducing production and consumption, promotion of reuse and recycling, and the responsible management of plastic waste. 

Marco Lambertini, WWF Special Envoy, said: “After a week of negotiations, the world is one step closer to the unmissable opportunity of a global treaty to end the plastic pollution crisis . The first draft of the treaty that will now be developed must reflect the ambition shown by the vast majority of countries here in Paris, and include the global bans and control measures that are needed to reduce and eliminate production and consumption of unnecessary and harmful plastic products and materials and turn the tide on plastic pollution. Ahead of the next round of negotiations, governments must continue in the spirit and determination shown here this week and work together to realise the ambitious world-changing treaty needed to halt plastic pollution.”

WWF has observed that of the almost 180 states in attendance at the talks, 135 states are now specifically calling for binding global rules, which would apply to all countries equally rather than a voluntary agreement where governments have the option to pick and choose actions. Additionally, 94 states have called for the treaty to prioritise bans or phase-outs of problematic polymers, chemicals and high-risk plastic products. Welcomed also was the announcement that Japan, Gabon and Mauritius are joining the High Ambition Coalition to End Plastic Pollution and the coalition's statement from more than 55 ministers.

Leading companies from across the value chain, including the Business Coalition for a Global Plastics Treaty, have also been vocal in expressing their support for legally binding global rules and measures to drive change on a global scale.

Despite progress made, the meeting also witnessed active delaying tactics. A group of states challenged previously agreed procedural rules around voting mechanisms in an attempt to delay the process. This resulted in a stalemate that lasted almost half the week, wasting critical time for states to discuss substantive solutions that the treaty could deliver. While suspended for this week, the attempt to remove the option of a vote, which could result in a situation where one country could veto the text and block the adoption of the treaty – could re-emerge at future negotiations.

To ensure strong outcomes of the future negotiation meetings, WWF urges states to act proactively and create progress on technical matters between the formal negotiation meetings. WWF recommends states to align under a single global vision for a high ambition global plastic pollution treaty join the High Ambition Coalition to End Plastic Pollution, already including over 50 governments. 

Zaynab Sadan, WWF Regional Plastic Policy Coordinator for Africa, said: "We must not see a repeat of the delaying tactics witnessed in Paris in the next stage of negotiations. Parties should not allow negotiations to be held hostage by a few when the majority wants to move ahead. We do not have time for delays. Every day we delay 30,000 tonnes of plastic leaks into the ocean. This is an urgent global crisis that needs an urgent global response. The over-production and consumption of plastic is suffocating our rivers and oceans, killing wildlife and contaminating our food, air and water. And it’s only getting worse. This new global treaty to end plastic pollution is our one opportunity to change that."

WWF has also expressed concerns about the restrictions put on civil society groups and scientists at the INC-2 negotiations, with many delegates signed-up to attend the summit unable to participate in or observe negotiations. A robust, ambitious and effective treaty must be one built on a foundation of inclusivity and transparency.


WWF International media team, news@wwfint.org