Will the oil industry succeed in its bet: to fail at an international agreement on plastics?? In any case, he managed to block any crucial progress during the 3e session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC.-3), which took place from November 13 to 19 in Nairobi (Kenya).

“ This makes us angry» declared Diane Beaumenay-Joannet, responsible for promoting aquatic waste for Surfrider Foundation Europe, the day after the closing of the event. A minority of countries with financial interests in oil are blocking a majority of countries that wish to fight the plastic crisis.»

Iran, Russia, China, Saudi Arabia and other oil-producing countries, united in a new coalition, have continued to slow down the debates, with incessant questions and objections.

An armada of lobbyists, against 38 scientists

As last May, during the 2e in Paris, the lobby of fossil fuel and petrochemical industrialists was also present. In even greater proportions.

According to the count carried out by the Center for International Environmental Law (Ciel), 143 representatives were registered for the conference, i.e. 36% more than in Paris. An armada if we compare to the thirty-eight scientists present.

They were even twice as numerous as the sixty-four representatives of the small island developing States of the Pacific, Heaven calculated. “ We must immediately change course to ensure that the plastics treaty is science-based and does not become a fossil fuel treaty.»alerted, in vain, Delphine Levi Alvares, coordinator of the global campaign on petrochemicals within Heaven, on November 15 in a press release.

Divergence over oil extraction

The disagreements concern two essential points. First, the scope of the treaty. The vast majority of the international community wants the text to encompass the entire life cycle of plastic, that is to say from oil extraction to the processing of plastic waste. On the other hand, the refractory countries refuse to allow production to be taken into account.

Second sticking point: plastic compounds. “ Positions have been expressed to exclude the issue of chemicals from the treaty, even though at least a third of the 13,000 chemical additives used today are clearly identified as dangerous for the environment and health.»notes the environmental association No Plastic in my Sea, member of the international movement Break Free From Plastic.

No consensus on a two-thirds majority vote

Result, after seven days of debate: the preliminary draft text (the “ zero draft») will be revised. But no timetable could be established for the intersessional work, which must take place between now and the next session scheduled for April 21-30 in Ottawa, Canada. “ However, this intersessional work is essential to address the scale and complexity of the subjects concerned.»emphasizes No plastic in my sea.

Despite this failure, Surfrider Foundation Europe notes that many countries, notably small island developing states and African countries, have strongly supported the provisions of an ambitious treaty.

The implementation of this treaty is planned for the end of 2024, after the Canadian session, at the end of April 2024, and a last one in the Republic of Korea in November 2024. For the moment, it is difficult to see, barring any surprises. , how the States could find an agreement when the positions seem irreconcilable. Especially since there is no consensus to decide on a two-thirds majority vote, the only solution to have the text adopted.

“ If we end up with an unambitious treaty, we could act on other levers to take measures on plastic, such as in the context of negotiations on climate or biodiversity.», says Diane Beaumenay-Joannet. In the NGOwe are already thinking about a plan B.

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