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INC-3 Day 6/7: UN Plastics Pollution Treaty Negotiations

ASH joins the Stop Tobacco Pollution Alliance in attending the third Intergovernmental Negotiating Conference (INC-3) of the United Nations Treaty to End Plastic Pollution in Nairobi, Kenya from November 13 – 19, 2023. ASH’s Chief Operating Officer Liz Furgurson and Researcher Rob Ralston of the University of Edinburgh will share updates and progress here for our community to stay engaged and informed.

STPA Members with Ms. Linda Kosgei, Head of Multilateral Environmental Agreements, Ministry of Environment, Climate Change and Forestry and Head of the Kenyan Delegation
STPA Members with Ms. Linda Kosgei, Head of Multilateral Environmental Agreements, Kenyan Ministry of Environment, Climate Change and Forestry and Head of the Kenyan Delegation

November 20, 2023 – INC-3 adjourned on Sunday, November 19th with a decision for the Secretariat to provide a revised zero draft text. The text will be available by December 31, 2023 and will serve as the subsequent document to be negotiated at INC-4, which will be held from April 21-30, 2024 in Ottawa, Canada. INC-5 is scheduled for November 2024 in Busan, South Korea.

Luis Vayas Valdivieso, Ecuador, was elected by acclamation as INC Chair. Estonia and Peru were also elected as Vice Chairs for the remainder of the INC. Summaries from each Contact Group were presented during the plenary and are available online here: Contact Group 1 (mentions cigarette filters); Contact Group 2; Contact Group 3.

With a series of intense negotiations at the Saturday and Sunday sessions, several agenda changes followed, including the postponement of Saturday’s much-anticipated plenary. Unfortunately, INC-3 closed without a mandate on the much-needed intersessional work.

It was an intense week to say the very least, but that’s why ASH and our partners came. Our goal is ambitious and our objectives to meet them are lofty but possible, as evidenced by the progress we’ve made this week. We received several mentions of cigarette filter bans and conflicts of interest are emerging as an important topic or point of contention at least – which tells us that we’ve been heard.

Most notably, the Contact Group 1 summary specifically mentions cigarette filters as a product that was requested to be banned:

“Some Members requested language on means of implementation, development of a list of criteria or list of products, such as cigarette filters, alternatives, science-based approach, traditional knowledge, and consideration of human health and the environment, technological availability, feasibility and accessibility, and the need to avoid harmful alternatives or substitutions. Some highlighted the consideration of national circumstances.”

STPA Member, Paula Johns, at the COI Briefing
STPA Member, Paula Johns, at the COI Briefing

ASH and the Stop Tobacco Pollution Alliance thank our friends at CIEL for recognizing the urgent need and organizing an event to brief civil society on Conflicts of Interest. We were pleased to be invited as a panelist to offer our experience with Article 5.3 of the WHO FCTC and how it could be a model for the Plastics Treaty to combat the prolific conflicts of interest. Further we appreciated the INC Secretariat, WHO, and FCTC Secretariat’s participation in the event to hear our voices.

Our small team is returning now exhausted but moved by the spirit of Nairobi. We’re inspired by what we experienced at INC-3 and motivated by the challenge and possibilities of the work that now lies ahead of us. See you in Ottawa!

A sincere thanks to all Stop Tobacco Pollution Alliance (STPA) members for their hard work at this INC, both on the ground in Nairobi and remotely. Our advocacy and impact were the result of a true collective effort. Also, hats off to our other civil society stakeholder friends – we stand with you and are committed to a better world with far less plastic and damage from it.

Keep reading about ASH’s work on plastics pollution <Return to Day 5 Blog