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INC-4 Day 1: UN Plastic Pollution Treaty Negotiations

ASH joins the Stop Tobacco Pollution Alliance in attending the fourth Intergovernmental Negotiating Conference (INC-4) of the United Nations Treaty to End Plastic Pollution in Ottawa, Canada from April 23 – 29, 2024. ASH’s Chief Operating Officer Liz Furgurson and Policy Director Chris Bostic will share updates and progress here for our community to stay engaged and informed.

April 23, 2024 – Today was the opening of INC-4 and began with the opening plenary. The Chair – Luis Vayas Valdivieso of Ecuador – asked that delegations not make typical opening statements in order to save time. All the countries that produce oil or plastic precursor chemicals did so anyway, often starting with the words “we have no time to lose” followed by five minutes of rambling observations. The morning session was a waste.

Other happenings:

 – The Nature Conservancy and Ocean Conservancy held a panel including U.S. Senators Welch and Whitehouse in support of a strong treaty. Congressman Huffman (CA-02) also spoke at the event.

– The World Health Organization held an open-ended session. WHO laid out its goals, including the elimination of plastic tobacco waste.

– The World Health Organization made a statement on the floor of INC (video here, read statement here), calling for a cigarette filter and other tobacco product waste ban. The statement also called on the INC to acknowledge the relevant WHO FCTC COP10 Decision on Article 18 (environment). Read more about that decision here.

– ASH made an intervention in the afternoon session, challenging the INC to ban cigarette filters as a show of good faith that they are serious. Read our intervention in English here. Watch it in Spanish here.

– The scientific panel called for 1. Establishment of a separate independent scientific body and 2. Full declaration of lobbyists involved in the process.

– Special congratulations to the local and subregional coalition that was launched today, on Earth Day, with support of several cities in California, as well as Mayors of Montreal, Quebec; Accra, Ghana, and La Crosse, Wisconsin.

It is far too early to despair. While there are governments here only to block, there are others determined to make progress.

Civil society observers are outnumbered 3 or 4-to-1 by corporate interests, but numbers don’t decide this. We have science and the public good on our side.


Keep reading about ASH’s work on plastics pollution <Return to Day 0 Blog Advance to Day 2 Blog>