Draft global plastics treaty shows promise - now countries must back ambitious measures, says WWF

Posted on September, 04 2023

4 September (Gland, Switzerland) - WWF commends a comprehensive first draft of the global plastic pollution treaty that sets the stage for the upcoming treaty negotiations in November. 

While the draft offers many effective solutions that can help put an end to the plastic crisis, WWF cautions it also includes a variety of weaker options. With this uncertainty in the treaty text, it means there are many challenges ahead in the negotiations to reach our goal for a planet free from plastic pollution.

“This draft is only the starting point as the treaty negotiations now go into intense text negotiations. If countries fail to establish strong common measures and are tempted to go for the more voluntary options, we will fail to stem the onslaught of plastic pollution the world is already experiencing,” said Eirik Lindebjerg, WWF Global Plastics Policy Lead.

“We need countries to dial up ambition and finalise a plastics treaty that is globally binding, with bans on high-risk, single use products, and requirements on product use that prioritises a full lifecycle approach and a just transition. Countries must resist settling for anything less.” 

The draft treaty, also known as the “zero draft”, is the first time countries have put to paper what the global plastics treaty should look like and comes at the midway point of negotiations – it lands ahead of the third round of talks out of a total of five – for finalising the treaty in 2024. 

The draft provides the foundation as the negotiations now turn from exploratory discussions to text negotiations. The draft is based on country inputs in the negotiations so far and reflects where countries currently stand and what they collectively agree and disagree on.

WWF sees the inclusion of global bans on high risk plastic products, as well as polymers and additives of concern, as crucial to eliminate the most harmful plastics and create a common global minimum standard. The draft also includes the option of developing common product design requirements to ensure a safe and circular economy for plastics.

In addition, the draft provides a good basis for further discussions on establishing a strong financing mechanism that can support universal implementation in all countries based on a holistic approach and global solidarity.

Included as options are also several non-binding approaches that will not take the world closer to ending plastic pollution.


The ‘zero draft’ of the UN plastic pollution treaty was published by the UN Environment Program on September 4th 2023 and is available here

For further information, please contact news@wwfint.org.