Global Plastic Treaty an Update

The most recent negotiation session for a global marine plastic treaty (Ottawa, Canada 23-29 April 2024) was frustrating and disappointing for many delegates hoping for more progress on an international agreement. That lack of progress stems from the major plastics industries, and a bloc of nations opposing common global rules. 

Kate Noble from WWF who attended the meeting has told us that, 'vested economic interests are playing out in these negotiations in a major way. The value of plastics traded globally is estimated by the UN at more than $USD 1 trillion, with rapid annual growth. So oil and petrochemical companies - and countries heavily dependent on oil and gas revenue - are fighting hard in this process to protect profits through growth in plastic production, as other sectors decarbonise.' 

 A significant majority of countries - more than 100 - are quite aligned in pushing for global rules to ban, phase out and/or regulate the most polluting plastic products and the most harmful chemicals in plastics. And a significant number - including Australia - are engaging in good faith negotiations on how the treaty can reduce plastic production to sustainable measures, as well as possible trade measures.

UN member states are now working towards the final negotiation session scheduled for Busan (South Korea) in November/December 2024. It was intended that this would be the last session before the signing of an international agreement. This may not be the case now.

Australia is amongst the progressive countries who want effective solutions with common global rules. The Boomerang Alliance commends the Australian Government and its delegation for taking this position. 

Kate Noble adds that "Australia is playing a very constructive role in negotiations that goes beyond its role as a UN member state. Australia's Kate Lynch has stepped into a high-level coordination role within the negotiations, co-chairing negotiation of the financial package and obligations which will be critical to effective implementation of the treaty in the years to come.'

 Please Note: In Australia, the Boomerang Alliance is currently lobbying the Commonwealth Government to introduce a Product Stewardship Scheme for Packaging that will make producers responsible for their packaging. Such a scheme would set an example to the rest of the world on how to manage problem plastic packaging and avoid waste and litter. It would be a practical demonstration of Australia's commitment towards ending plastic pollution.

In a nutshell: What the Boomerang Alliance wants

  • Legally binding common and global rules that will change the way plastics are managed in our economies to avoid unnecessary consumption and eliminate waste and pollution
  • Introduced Circular Economy measures that make producers responsible for the products they place into the market through their entire lifecycle
  • Prioritising action on the types of plastic most likely to be wasted or littered
  • Support for fair and equitable global action by providing the means (where it is needed) for all nations to transition away from problematic plastics that impact people and the environment

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