HAC Member States Ministerial Joint Statement for INC-4

In advance of the fourth session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC-4) to develop an international legally binding instrument on plastic pollution, including in the marine environment, we the 64 Ministers of the High Ambition Coalition to End Plastic Pollution:

Reaffirm our shared commitment and encourage other countries to join the High Ambition Coalition and commit to its goal to end plastic pollution by 2040.

Recall the agreement of UNEA Resolution 5/14 and underline that achieving the goal of ending plastic pollution requires an ambitious and effective, international legally binding instrument that is comprehensive in scope, addresses the full life cycle of plastics including primary plastic polymers, products made of or containing plastics as well as associated chemicals, and plastic pollution in all its dimensions.

Stress that without this comprehensive and holistic approach, which is vital to achieving a full transition towards a safe circular economy for plastics, we will fail to end plastic pollution and not achieve our collective goal of protecting the environment and human health from the negative impacts of plastic pollution.

Reiterate that global plastic consumption and production have reached unsustainable levels and continue to grow while plastic pollution keeps increasing, which underscores the need to significantly enhance our collective and combined efforts, and recognise that there is an ongoing need to identify, prioritize and effectively address the key sources and drivers of plastic pollution.

Call for binding provisions to restrain and reduce the production and consumption of primary plastic polymers to sustainable levels, emphasise the need to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions in the plastics system and align treaty provisions with the 1.5°C target of the Paris Agreement as well as with the relevant targets of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, with the Global Framework on Chemicals, and with the goals of the Basel, Rotterdam, and Stockholm Conventions.

Underline the scientific evidence of negative impacts on the environment and on human health related to plastic pollution,[1] the need for a precautionary approach, the UN General Assembly Resolution 76/300 on the human right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment,[2] and the need to protect human rights of persons in vulnerable situations across the plastics life cycle, including children, women, Indigenous Peoples, local communities, coastal communities, waste-pickers and other workers in informal or cooperative settings.

Acknowledge that the socio-economic and environmental costs of inaction are significantly higher than those for appropriate control measures and will be disproportionally borne by developing countries, especially Least Developed Countries and Small Island Developing States, and recognise the multiple challenges these countries face, especially regarding the remediation of existing plastic pollution.

Affirm the importance of a fair, equitable and inclusive transition that supports sustainable development, with special consideration for people and groups in vulnerable situations.[3]

Recognise the important role the science, knowledge and traditional practices of Indigenous Peoples and of local communities play in contributing to the sustainable management and protection of the environment from plastic pollution.

Stress that ending plastic pollution will require common legally binding global rules and control measures, based on best available science, to restrain and reduce consumption and production of primary plastic polymers to sustainable levels; eliminate and restrict unnecessary, avoidable, and problematic plastic products as well as plastic polymers and chemicals of environmental or health concern; to establish global criteria or requirements for products, including on durability, reuse, repair and recycling; to ensure a safe circular economy for plastics that protects the environment and human health; to achieve the environmentally sound management of plastic waste; eliminate the release of plastics, including microplastics, to air, water and land; and remediate and, where feasible, eliminate plastic pollution, using the best available techniques and environmental practices to avoid exacerbating environmental harm.

Call for mechanisms in the treaty for strengthening commitments and controls over time, as well as for transparent reporting on its implementation at the national and global level.

Underscore that common global rules and economic tools are vital to drive the private sector to scale and speed up reliable investments in sustainability and generate sustainable economic opportunities for businesses in all regions through greater regulatory alignment and transparency.

Emphasise the principle that polluters must be held responsible for their activities and products, recognizing that extended producer responsibility schemes, fit to national circumstances, are part of the solution, and further emphasise the significant potential for improving product design and environmentally sound waste management.

Highlight the need for reliable information throughout the plastics value chain and binding measures and provisions on transparency, labelling, monitoring and reporting across the full life cycle of plastics, including on the type and quantities of polymers, the composition of plastic materials and products, including chemicals, as well as labelling across plastics value chains to provide necessary product information to ensure accountability and inform actions, while protecting confidential business information not related to the health and safety of humans and the environment.

Alongside these minimum requirements, highlight the need to mobilize the necessary resources from all sources, public and private, domestic and international, stand ready to discuss the most appropriate mechanisms for ensuring timely, accessible, recurrent, predictable and adequate financing for implementation, and call for ambitious and effective means of implementation, including financing to support implementation in recipient countries, in particular Least Developed Countries and Small Island Developing States, recognising in principle that all countries should provide domestic resources for their national activities.

Stress the need to align financial flows and policies to deliver action on the ground, and to end harmful incentives such as subsidies that work against the goal to end plastic pollution.

In this spirit and recognising the critical point in negotiations, we invite the INC Chair to facilitate enhanced ministerial engagement and dialogue, and encourage all INC members to intensify their efforts to establish areas of shared understanding and convergence in order to make substantive progress on the revised draft text, and decide upon intersessional work needed to agree on an ambitious treaty by the end of 2024 at INC-5.

We continue to demonstrate our determination to ensure a comprehensive and holistic approach able to end plastic pollution by 2040, including by committing to take immediate actions at all levels and across the full life cycle of plastics, consistent with ambitious future treaty provisions, while reinvigorating our efforts across all relevant international processes and organisations.

Find here a copy of the Ministerial Joint Statement for INC-4 with list of Members of the High Ambition Coalition to End Plastic Pollution supporting the Joint Ministerial Statement for INC-4.

[1] Especially for women, infants and young children; workers and residents of frontline communities exposed to toxic chemicals embedded in plastics. Landrigan, Philip J. et al.: The Minderoo-Monaco Commission on Plastics and Human Health. Annals of Global Public Health. 2023 Mar 21;89(1):23. doi: 10.5334/aogh.4056.

[2] Certain HAC Member Countries adopted, and continue to support, Resolution 76/300 from 28 July 2022 in accordance with Explanations of Vote.

[3] Taking into consideration the “Guidelines for a just transition towards environmentally sustainable economies and societies for all” by the International Labour Organization, and the International Labour Conference Resolution ILC.111/Resolution V.

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Date: 28/04/2023