On Tuesday, delegates shifted into high gear as they opened candid discussions on the future treaty during the third session of the intergovernmental negotiating committee (INC-3) to develop an international legally binding instrument (ILBI) on plastic pollution, including in the marine environment.
After hearing general statements on the Zero Draft text of the ILBI from both states and observers in the morning, delegations agreed to establish three contact groups with respective mandates. Contact Group 1 was mandated to review parts I and II of the annex to the Zero Draft, containing the substantive elements. Contact Group 2 was tasked to address parts III and IV of the annex to the Zero Draft, containing matters related to modalities and means of implementation. Contact Group 3 was assigned to consider the Synthesis Report of elements not discussed at INC-2, taking into account the preparatory meeting, as well as proposals from members on placeholders in the Zero Draft.
The groups met throughout the afternoon and into the evening. Contact Group 1, co-facilitated by Gwendalyn Kingtaro Sisior (Palau) and Axel Borchmann (Germany), met in the evening and began discussing the objectives. They continued their deliberations into the evening, opening discussions on primary plastic polymers, chemicals and polymers of concern, problematic and avoidable plastic products, and exemptions available to parties upon request.
Contact Group 2, co-facilitated by Katherine Lynch (Australia) and Oliver Boachie (Ghana), opened discussions on finance, with delegations packing into the room to participate in this key discussion. They shared their reflections on the specific text contained in the Zero Draft, which includes options for a financial mechanism, and addressed how best to mobilize funds for the implementation of the ILBI.
Contact Group 3, co-facilitated by Marine Collignon (France) and Danny Rahdiansyah (Indonesia), reflected on the preamble, definitions, principles and scope of the ILBI, with delegations generally agreeing on United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) resolution 5/14 as the basis for further elaborating the substance of the future instrument, and others calling for further clarity on concepts and terminology concerning the plastics lifecycle.
The groups are expected to convene for the duration of the meeting, reporting back to the INC during a stocktaking plenary on Thursday, 16 November 2023.
In the evening, in a welcome custom for this process, observers held a conversation with Inger Andersen, Executive Director, UN Environment Programme (UNEP), and Jyoti Mathur-Fillip, Executive Secretary, INC Secretariat.