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) took place from 13 to 19 November 2023 in Nairobi, Kenya. The INC3 which followed the INC2 convened in Paris, France brought together more than 1.900 delegates representing 161 Members including the European Union and over 318 observer organizations including UN entities, intergovernmental organizations, and non-governmental organizations. The ultimate aim of the INC was to advance the development of the plastic treaty, using the Zero Draft document* issued after the INC 2, as a basis for its discussions. The INC3 was preceded by a preparatory meeting convened on 11 November 2023 which addressed the Synthesis Report.
Over the course, INC3 worked in three contact groups namely Contact Group 1, Contact Group 2 and Contact Group 3 with the objective of improving the Zero Draft document. In particular, Contact Group 1 reviewed elements of Parts I (objectives) and II (technical elements) of the Zero Draft, Contact Group 2 dealt respectively with Parts III (Mol) and IV (modalities) of the Zero Draft while Contact Group 3 considered the Synthesis Report on elements not discussed in INC2.
During INC3, the co-facilitators of Contact Groups 1 and 2 proceeded to draft a compilation text to include all members’ views and then prepared merged texts. These merged texts were then validated by the Members of the contact groups. Finally, the delegates mandated the Secretariat to compile into a single “revised zero-draft text,” the merged texts put forward by Contact Groups 1 and 2 and the outcome document of Contact Group 3, following the outline of the original Zero Draft text. The revised zero-draft text is to be issued by 31 December 2023 and will serve as a starting point for the INC4 negotiations.
In addition, the INC 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. Officially closing the session, H.E. Mr. Gustavo Adolfo Meza-Cuadra Velasquez, thanked the Government of Kenya and the United Nations in Nairobi for hosting the session, as well as the Member States, observers, co-facilitators and support staff for the discussions. In particular, he said :“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.” 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.”
Finally, INC Members 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.
*UNEP/PP/INC.3/4, “Zero draft text of the international legally binding instrument on plastic pollution, including in the marine environment “, see: https://wedocs.unep.org/bitstream/handle/20.500.11822/43239/ZERODRAFT.pdf
**UNEP/PP/INC.3/INF/1, “Synthesis report on the submissions received on elements not discussed at the second session, such as principles and scope of the instrument”, see: https://wedocs.unep.org/bitstream/handle/20.500.11822/43802/SynthesisPaper.pdf
Sources: UNEP/MAP, IISD
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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