Thursday marked the midway point of 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. Delegates met in a stocktaking plenary to check in on the progress made in their discussions towards the revision of the Zero Draft text of the ILBI.
The stocktaking plenary was sandwiched between meetings of two contact groups, which held fast paced discussions to ensure that delegations could outline all the ideas that would need to be included in the revised Zero Draft, including those contained in the Synthesis Report.
Contact Group 1, co-facilitated by Gwendalyn Kingtaro Sisior (Palau) and Axel Borchmann (Germany), spent the morning session rushing to complete a first reading on what currently forms the bulk of the Zero Draft. They addressed, among several others, an element dealing with extended producer responsibility (EPR), debating different options: setting out mandatory EPR requirements versus more flexible ones; whether these options are necessary at all; or whether they can be combined. Many welcomed planned intersessional work on this issue.
Contact Group 3, co-facilitated by Marine Collignon (France) and Danny Rahdiansyah (Indonesia), addressed elements of the Synthesis Report, and finalized a first reading of elements that had not been previously discussed. They dedicated time to address institutional arrangements, converging around the need to establish different types of subsidiary bodies/panels/committees to guide the work of the governing body, including with regard to science and technical/technological matters; monitoring, review, and evaluation; implementation and compliance; and financial/economic matters.
During the stocktaking plenary, contact groups offered progress reports on the work so far. Following this, INC Chair Meza-Cuadra informed delegations that interventions during the contact groups—as well as over 300 written submissions received—would be incorporated into a new iteration of the Zero Draft, to be released by the Co-Facilitators in sections beginning on Thursday evening. He explained that this text would provide the basis for a second round of discussions, which is scheduled to conclude at noon on Saturday, 18 November.