NES invited to WWF roundtable on plastic pollution treaty

Halatoa Fua stated ‘this roundtable provided good value in collecting all the work developed from the various informal intersessional work and planning a roadmap of what to achieve in the Ottawa discussions. The opportunity to engage with representatives from other member states continues to be a valuable tool in building relationships and a common understanding of issues and priorities that we would like to see from this treaty'.
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Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF), in collaboration with the Norwegian Academy of International Law (NAIL), held a roundtable for representatives from some member states to conduct final preparations for the Fourth Session of Intergovernmental Negotiations Committee (INC-4) to establish a legally binding treaty to end plastic pollution took place in Ottawa last month. The roundtable was held in Lutry, Switzerland, in mid-April 2024. Halatoa Fua, NES Director, was invited to participate in the roundtable to building a common understanding of the content and organisation of work before the regional meetings in Ottawa. 

Firstly, the participants regrouped on all the country-led informal intersessional work that has taken place since March 2024. This included the intersessional work and advancement of work on the articles relating to sustainable production and primary plastic polymers led by France, articles relating to chemicals of concern led by Norway, articles relating to problematic and avoidable plastic products led by the United Kingdom and Brazil, both chemicals of concern and problematic and avoidable plastic products led by Switzerland, and plastic product design led by the European Commission. There is an expectation that conference room papers or in-session documents will be submitted by some of the member states to create awareness on the informal intersessional work and research conducted to date. 

The participants spent considerable time assessing the phase out and phase down options of chemicals and plastic products, consideration of the global and national approaches and ambitions, key areas to consider for the development of a criteria, detailed listing of chemicals and plastic products, design measures and requirements. The financing and other means of implementation were also discussed as a key priority of the treaty, particularly on identifying sources of public and private funds, and to seek views on a new multilateral fund versus an existing funding mechanism.

The participants concluded discussions on the roadmap to Ottawa and how to get a meaningful treaty at the fourth and fifth sessions. The participants reflected on the scenario note released by the INC-4 Chair, focusing on the introduction of a new format for the contact groups and a legal drafting group to advance the text negotiations, and the need to obtain a mandate on formal intersessional work by the INC.

Halatoa Fua stated ‘this roundtable provided good value in collecting all the work developed from the various informal intersessional work and planning a roadmap of what to achieve in the Ottawa discussions. The opportunity to engage with representatives from other member states continues to be a valuable tool in building relationships and a common understanding of issues and priorities that we would like to see from this treaty’.

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The National Environment Service is established to protect, conserve and ensure the Cook Islands environment is managed sustainably. The agency is headed by a Director with delegated powers to carry out the functions of the Environment Act 2003.

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