ASH’s Policy Director Chris Bostic is attending the second Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC-2) of the United Nations treaty to end plastic pollution in Paris, France from May 29 – June 2, 2023. He will share updates and progress here for our community to stay engaged and informed.
Day three technically began at midnight as the working group trying to sort out the rules of procedure toiled until 1 am. They reported back to the full plenary at a more reasonable hour this morning with an interpretative statement that they asked to be adopted. Here is that statement:
“The INC understands that based on discussions on the INC draft rules of procedure there are different views amongst INC members on rule 38.1, and its reflection in the report of INC-1. Therefore the provisional application of rule 38.1 of the draft rules of procedure has been a subject of debate. In the event rule 38.1 is invoked before the rules are formally adopted members will recall this lack of agreement.”
A classic “agree to disagree.” It was adopted unanimously (the very concept of whether it should have been adopted by consensus or by vote would make my head explode). It almost seems silly, but it is the biggest breakthrough so far this week.
Once adopted, the INC was able to begin talking about actual substance, and I must admit the statements that many countries had been waiting to make buoyed my optimism.
The plenary later broke into two “contact groups” to further debate the issues. They will continue tomorrow and into Friday morning, and then report back to the plenary (which is simply both contact groups recombined). Once the findings are adopted by the plenary (not a sure thing), these discussions will become the basis of the “zero,” or first, draft of the treaty, which the UNEP secretariat will craft in the interim until the next INC in November. They will also take into consideration written submissions from delegations, including from Action on Smoking and Health.
While today was the most hopeful yet for the treaty as a whole, ASH’s mission, with its allies, has been making promising strides. We have been able to reach many delegations, both civil society and government, and are finding a high level of support for banning cigarette filters.
We’re far from done, but feel there is a solid chance of success, which would be one of the biggest successes in the history of anti-tobacco policy.
Happy World No Tobacco Day. Perhaps we’re more than a day closer to that reality.