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Africa: ‘Shameless Stalling Tactics’ – Talks On New Global Plastic Treaty ‘Held Hostage’ By Petrochemical Industry

Negotiations on a global plastic treaty stalled in Kenya at the weekend, with some non-government groups describing the talks as a ‘massive failure’.

Negotiations to craft a legally binding treaty to control global plastic pollution and harmful plastic products ended on a subdued note in Kenya at the weekend, after progress was seemingly “held hostage” by the vested interests of the oil and plastics industries.

Senior United Nations officials tried to put a brave face on things and urged negotiators to keep pushing for a “bold, sharp and effective” treaty to curb plastic pollution. But several non-government groups monitoring the talks in Nairobi characterised the outcome as either a “stalemate” or a “massive failure”.

Local and international plastics lobby groups, on the other hand, have been much less vocal in commenting on the outcome of the latest session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee involving 161 United Nations member states (including the European Union) and more than 318 observer organisations.

Inger Andersen, executive director of the UN Environment Programme, said she was “encouraged by the forward motion of the negotiations”, while outgoing negotiations chair Gustavo Velásquez said the 10 days of talking in Kenya marked a “significant step forward towards the achievement of our objective to develop an international legally binding instrument to end plastic pollution”.

But, he remarked, “much remains to be done”…

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