Established in 2010

About MEPIELAN eBulletin

MEPIELAN E-Bulletin is a digital academic and practitioner newsletter of the MEPIELAN Centre, launched in 2010.  It features insight articles, reflective opinions, specially selected documents and cases, book reviews as well as news on thematic topics of direct interest of MEPIELAN Centre and on the activities and role of MEPIELAN Centre. Its content bridges theory and practice perspectives of relational international law, international environmental law and participatory governance , and international negotiating process, thus serving the primary goal of Centre: to develop an integrated, inter-disciplinary, relational, context-related and sustainably effective governance approach creating, protecting and advancing international common interest for the present and future generations. Providing a knowledge- and information-sharing platform and a scholarly forum, the Bulletin promotes innovative ideas and enlightened critical views, contributing to a broader scholarly debate on important issues of international common interest. The audience of the Bulletin includes academics, practitioners, researchers, university students, international lawyers, officials and personnel of international organizations and institutional arrangements, heads and personnel of national authorities at all levels (national, regional and local), and members of the civil society at large.

The First Session of the International Negotiating Committee Takes Place Towards a Landmark Global Agreement on Plastic Pollution

May 9, 2023

Punta del Este, Uruguay, 28 November – 2 December 2022

Following the mandate agreed by the adoption of the historic UNEA resolution 5/14 in March 2022, the first of the five planned meetings of the International Negotiating Committee (also known as INC-1) took place in Punta del Este, Uruguay from 28 November to 2 December 2022. More than 2.300 delegates from 160 countries and representatives from the private sector and the civil society participated at the meeting. The ultimate task of the INC is to develop an internationally binding instrument to combat plastic pollution by 2024, based on a comprehensive approach that addresses the full lifecycle of plastics.

To begin with, the initial discussions focused on organizational and procedural matters, especially on the election of the Bureau and the adoption of the Rules of Procedure. Given that the delegates were not able to reach an agreement, the draft Rules of Procedure applied provisionally with the exception of Rule 37 which remains open for further consultations at INC 2.

During the meeting the delegates addressed the scope and objectives of the agreement, the structure, potential elements, means of implementation and modalities for stakeholder participation.

INC participants endeavored to forge common ground on the scope of the future instrument.  The vast majority of countries favored a holistic approach that encompasses the full “life-cycle” of plastics from product design to waste. Yet the definition of “life-cycle” has not been agreed. Opinions also diverged on when the life-cycle starts and ends. In their discussions on the objectives, the delegates supported that the future instrument should “protect the environment and human health from plastic pollution, and ultimately end plastic pollution.” It was further highlighted that circular economy approaches and environmental sound waste management should be simultaneously pursued though the treaty.

Moreover, the structure of the future instrument turned out to be a bone of contention during the negotiations. On the one hand, the formulation of a specific treaty containing global binding provisions was broadly argued by the delegates. On the other hand, there were delegates who opposed the top -down approach and opted for a framework convention underpinned by a bottom -up approach driven by national action plans (NAPs).

Concerning the core obligations, many countries argued that these should be conceptualized taking into account each stage of the entire lifecycle of the plastics. Additionally, the delegates advocated specific globally binding obligations including those addressing addressing, inter alia: harmful chemical additives and substances, recycling and waste management, design standards; reducing production of problematic, single-use, and unnecessary plastics, and disclosure of hazardous chemicals in polymers. In this context, delegates emphasized that guiding principles and approaches such as the extended producer responsibility, inclusiveness, common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, and transparency should be enshrined in the future instrument.

Besides, the INC participants held a discussion on the means for implementation. In this realm, the call for the establishment of a dedicated multilateral fund was strongly proposed by many developing countries. In addition, the delegates highlighted that the meaningful participation of stakeholders including businesses is critical for both the development of the future treatment and its effective implementation.

At its conclusion, the Committee requested the INC Secretariat to prepare a document, ahead of INC-2, which would outline options for elements of the instrument including both legally binding and voluntary measures.

Lastly, it was agreed that the INC-2 will be convened in Paris from 22 to 26 May 2023.

Sources: IISD, UNEP

For more information:



About the author


MEPIELAN Centre is an international research, training and educational centre established by Professor Evangelos Raftopoulos at the Panteion University of Athens in 2008.

Before its establishment as a University Centre, MEPIELAN operated as a successful international research, training and informational programme (2002-2007) under the scientific direction of Professor Evangelos Raftopoulos and the aegis of the Panteion University of Athens, supported by the Mediterranean Action Plan/UNEP and the Greek Ministry of the Environment, Physical Planning and Public Works.

MEPIELAN Centre is an accredited UNEP/MAP PARTNER (since 2013), a Member of the Mediterranean Commission on Sustainable Development (MCSD) (since 2016), and a Member of the Steering Committee of the MCSD (since 2019).

On 22 May 2022, MEPIELAN Centre proceeded to the development of MEPIELAN as a Non- Profit Civil Organization (INGO) for the more effective and efficient advancement of its Goals and Missions and furtherance of its activities. MEPIELAN Centre as a Non- Profit Civil Organization (INGO) is registered in Greek Law (Hellenic Business Registry, Reg. No. 16477300100) in accordance with Laws 4072/2012 & 4919/2022 as applicable

Related artifacts

Environmental Governance Regimes
The 79th IMO MEPC Adopts the Mediterranean Sea Emission Control Area for Sulphur Oxides and Particulate Matter (Med SOx ECA) on 15 December 2022: A Turning Point in the Mediterranean

The 79th IMO MEPC Adopts the Mediterranean Sea Emission Control Area for Sulphur Oxides and Particulate Matter (Med SOx ECA) on 15 December 2022: A Turning Point in the Mediterranean

The 79th session of the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 79) of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) was convened from 12 to 16 December 2022 at IMO Headquarters in London. On 15 December 2022 MEPC 79 adopted the drafted amendments and formally designated the Mediterranean Sea, as a whole, as an Emission Control Area (ECA) for Sulphur Oxides and particulate matter under regulation 14 of Annex VI to the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) in an effort to halt the air pollution from ships.

Read more text

Environmental Governance Regimes
Tunisia becomes the 13th Contracting Party to ratify the ICZM Protocol

Tunisia becomes the 13th Contracting Party to ratify the ICZM Protocol

On November 29, 2022, Tunisia, under Decree No 2022/917, ratified the ICZM Protocol becoming the 13th Contracting Party bound by the relevant provisions. Signed in January 2008 in Madrid by 15 Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention and entered into force on March 24, 2011, following the sixth ratification of the Protocol by the Syrian Arab Republic, the Integrated Coastal Zone Management Protocol constitutes the first regional, legally binding regulatory instrument concerning coastal zone management.

Read more text