Plastics At UNEA: Expert Group Makes Gains On Substance

The United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) and parties to several global environmental instruments have taken an interest in plastic pollution, especially marine plastic litter and microplastics, recognising it as a serious and rapidly growing issue of global concern which requires an urgent and global response.

Following UNEA3 and UNEA4, the UN Environment Program (UNEP) formed an Ad-Hoc Open-Ended Expert Group (AHOEEG) of member states, industry representatives, and civil society experts to analyze information and present options to combat marine plastic litter and microplastics. Updates have previously been reported from the 1st and 2nd meetings, and the Expert Group met for the 3rd time 18 – 22 November 2019, in Bangkok, Thailand.

Members of the #breakfreefromplastic movement and broader civil society have been active through UNEAs and the AHOEEG meetings to prioritize the urgency of the global plastic crisis and its harms across the full supply chain and life cycle. The more than 2,000 member organizations of #breakfreefromplastic worldwide have endorsed the pursuit of a new legally binding global governance structure for plastics, based on a four-pillar strategy.

Dozens of delegates, scientists, and other experts met (Nov 18-22) to plan a process for taking stock of activities underway around the world to curb plastic discharge into the world’s oceans and identifying the gaps of coverage in those activities. After five days of discussion, the path forward will be complicated but experts remain optimistic that an aggressive work schedule through 2020 will lead to global action on this urgent issue.

Read the full update, via CIEL and Break Free From Plastic.

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