The third session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee to develop an international legally binding instrument on plastic pollution, including in the marine environment (INC-3), concluded today in Nairobi, Kenya, with agreement on a starting point for negotiations at the fourth session (INC-4).
More than 1,900 delegates participated in INC-3, representing 161 Members, including the European Union and over 318 observer organizations – UN entities, intergovernmental organizations, and non-governmental organizations. The third session follows INC-1 in Punta del Este, Uruguay, in November 2022 and INC-2 in Paris, France, in May/June 2023.
Over the course of INC-3, Members discussed the Chair’s Zero Draft, went through a compilation of text to include all the views of Members, prepared a validated, co-facilitator merged text, and found a way forward on issues not discussed as yet.
The INC also elected two Vice-Chairs to the Bureau and a new Chair of the Committee, Ambassador Luis Valdivieso of Ecuador. As indicated at INC-1, H.E. Mr. Gustavo Adolfo Meza-Cuadra Velasquez stepped down from the position as the Chair of the committee at the end of INC-3; Ambassador Luis Vayas Valdivieso of Ecuador was elected by acclamation as INC Chair moving forward.
“I am encouraged by the forward motion of the negotiations towards a treaty that ends plastic pollution. I thank the Chair, Ambassador Meza-Cuadra, and the Members of the INC for their determination to get to the finish line and put us on course for a world where plastic pollution is a problem of the past,” said Inger Andersen, Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). “Continue to be ambitious, innovative, inclusive, and bold. And use these negotiations to hone a sharp and effective instrument that we can use to carve out a better future, free from plastic pollution.”
Officially closing the session, outgoing Chair of the INC, H.E. Mr. Gustavo Adolfo Meza-Cuadra Velasquez, thanked the Government of Kenya and the UN in Nairobi for hosting the session, as well as the Member States, observers, co-facilitators and support staff of the discussions.
“These past 10 days have been a significant step forward towards the achievement of our objective to develop an international legally binding instrument to end plastic pollution. But it has also recalled us that much remains to be done both in narrowing down our differences and in developing technical work to inform our negotiations,” he said.
Quoting Nelson Mandela, he added: “I invite all of you to reflect on as we engage in the upcoming INCs: Sometimes, it falls upon a generation to be great. You can be that great generation. Let your greatness blossom.”
“I urge all of us to listen to the scientific community and the diversity of stakeholders that can and do bring evidence, experience, and knowledge to these negotiations. Their work is evolving and developing every day,” said incoming INC Chair, Ambassador Luis Vayas. “I thank Ambassador Meza-Cuadra for his steady leadership of the process up to this midway point and will do my utmost to work with Members and all stakeholders for the success of the INC process, delivery of the instrument and implementation to end plastic pollution, protecting human health and the environment.
INC Members also agreed on the dates of both INC-4, to take place in Ottawa, Canada, in April 2024, and INC-5, which is scheduled for November/December 2024 in the Republic of Korea.
“I am pleased to see that the Nairobi spirit of collaboration, compromise and commitment has been in full force during our session in the city that birthed the INC process. We saw this during our Preparatory Meeting on 11 November, which set the stage for the positive momentum we achieved at this session, and in the constructive and cooperative manner in which you all engaged throughout this week,” said Jyoti Mathur-Filipp, Executive Secretary of the INC Secretariat.
“Let us carry the Nairobi spirit of collaboration, compromise and commitment forward into our next sessions, as we continue on our journey towards a strong, ambitious and inclusive instrument to combat plastic pollution,” she added