Britain has supported a new global agreement to tackle the plastic pollution crisis, which Lord Goldsmith said would go “far beyond” existing international agreements.
This week, The Guardian revealed that there is growing support for such a treaty internationally, but that neither the UK nor the US, the world’s largest per capita producers of plastic waste, had pledged their support yet. .
The Pacific and Environment minister said Wednesday that he believes it is time to start negotiations on a UN plastics treaty similar to the Paris agreement on the climate crisis. He suggested that the UK could play a leading role in negotiating the terms of such an agreement, as it had done with the promise of leaders by nature.
Speaking through Zoom at a virtual event of the World Trade Organization, organized by the United Kingdom in collaboration with the Global Association of Plastic ActionGoldsmith said: “The plastic in the ocean will triple by 2025. The challenge we face is immense and urgent. We believe it is time to negotiate a new global agreement to coordinate action on marine plastic litter and microplastics, one that goes well beyond existing frameworks. With two-thirds of the UN member states already on board, we have the opportunity now to create unstoppable momentum to tackle plastic pollution in a way that the Paris agreement has done with climate change and the Montreal Protocol with depletion. ozone. I hope that many, many other nations will join us as well.
He spoke of the “ambitious” leaders’ commitment to nature signed in September by 64 world leaders from five continents, including Emmanuel Macron, Angela Merkel, Justin Trudeau, Jacinda Ardern and Boris Johnson.
“I am proud that the UK has played an important role in strengthening that promise, insisting on the strongest language possible, line by line,” said Goldsmith.
The UK will host the G7 and the all-important Cop26 in 2021, he said, and is committed to doing everything possible for nature and “turning the tide” on plastic waste.
Tim Grabiel, a lawyer for the Environmental Investigation Agency, appreciated the UK’s support for a plastics treaty and hoped the US and Canada would follow suit. He said: “The UK government is well positioned to lead global efforts and throw its political clout behind an issue so close to the heart of the British public.”
The UN environment assembly concluded in 2017 that the existing international legal framework governing plastic pollution, including the Stockholm and Basel conventions, is fragmented and ineffective.
More than two-thirds of UN member states, including the African, Baltic, Caribbean, Nordic and Pacific states, as well as the EU, have said they are open to considering the option of a new deal. Britain had been considering one of two options: support growing calls to negotiate a new global treaty or strengthen existing deals to reduce plastic waste. The United States has so far opposed an international deal on plastic waste.
At a UN working group last week to discuss the crisis, which will feed the fifth UN At the Environment Assembly in 2021, several delegations expressed support for a new global agreement, although there was no consensus on whether it would address only marine plastic litter or go further to address plastic pollution as a whole, and whether it would be legally binding.
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