Webinar on 23 May: Plastics on the Peak: Eliminating releases of plastic waste to air, water and land in mountainous regions

Austria and Georgia, in collaboration with Norway and Rwanda as the Co-Chairs of the High Ambition Coalition, will co-host a webinar titled Plastics on the Peak: Eliminating releases of plastic waste to air, water and land in mountainous regions with speakers from the UN, Government, Civil society, Business and Science.

The event will take place on Tuesday 23 May 2023 from 1:00 – 2:30 p.m. CEST


Introduction by co-moderator Björn Alfthan, Principal Expert, Polar and Climate Programme, GRID-Arendal

Opening Remarks by HAC co-hosts

  • Irma Gurguliani, INC Focal Point for Georgia / Deputy Head, Waste and Chemicals Management Department, Ministry of Environmental Protection and Agriculture of Georgia
  • Renate Paumann, INC Focal Point for Austria / Policy Officer, Federal Ministry for Climate Action, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology

Introduction to the challenge of plastic waste in mountainous regions by Mehrnoosh Azodi, Programme Officer, Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions

Panel discussion and Q&A

  • Kika Bradsford, Director, Acceso PanAm
  • Raghav Mahto, Co-Founder, Doko Recyclers
  • Gael LE ROUX, CNRS Research Director, University of Toulouse, France
  • Mehrnoosh Azodi, Programme Officer, Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions’ (PRESENTATION)
  • Renate Paumann, INC Focal Point for Austria
  • Irma Gurguliaini, INC Focal Point for Georgia

Moderated by Melissa de Kock, Head of Biodiversity, People and Landscapes Unit and Mountain Focal Point, UNEP


Plastic pollution constitutes a planetary crisis with impacts on ecosystems, biodiversity, the climate and human health. Plastic pollution has reached unprecedented levels the world over and is projected to rise significantly in the next decades. According to the OECD’s Global Plastic Outlook Policy Scenarios to 2060 report, without urgent global action, the volume of plastics in rivers and lakes will increase from 109 million tonnes in 2019 to 348 million tonnes in 2060 while plastics leaking into the ocean will rise from 30 million tonnes in 2019 to 145 million tonnes in 2060.

The High Ambition Coalition to End Plastic Pollution is committed to develop an ambitious international legally binding instrument and share the common ambition to end plastic pollution by 2040. The plastic treaty will seek to establish provisions for plastic waste minimization and environmentally sound collection, sorting and preparation for reuse and recycling of plastic waste to reenter recycled plastics into the economy and avoid leakage to the environment.

Mountain areas host both sprawling cities and rural settlements, cover 25% of the Earth´s land surface area, provide a home for about 15 per cent of the global population, while also providing ecosystem goods and services such as water to billions of people in lowland areas.

Linked to global supply chains and as a consequence of population growth, overconsumption and tourism, the generation of waste – especially plastic waste – is surging across mountainous regions. This endangers freshwater resources and biodiversity and in turn poses serious risks for downstream regions. Specific challenges include remoteness, no economies of scale, limited financial and human resources, high transport costs and lack of infrastructure.

This webinar provides opportunities for Member States and stakeholders to highlight and discuss why plastic pollution in mountainous regions is important, and how the specific challenges of these regions can be considered within the INC process, including proposals for elements in the treaty to eliminate releases of plastics to water, land and air; waste management; and remediation of legacy plastic waste.