Canada leads in creating binding global plastics pact

As ministers of the Environment and other leaders meet at the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) in Nairobi, Kenya, this week, more than 170 countries will deliberate over the launch of a process to develop a new global agreement on plastic pollution.

Canada has also been helping to lead the process in its role as co-facilitator, along with Ghana, to bring countries together, build consensus, and secure the mandate needed to develop a legally binding global agreement. A resolution supporting this mandate will be considered by ministers later this week.

“Canada has been facilitating and supporting the creation of a legally binding agreement on global plastic pollution. We will come to the table every day during the negotiations this week in Nairobi, to do what we can to bring countries together on meaningful action on plastic pollution,” said Steven Guilbeault, minister of environment and climate change.

“Our environment, and the many people and communities affected, simply cannot wait—meaningful commitments are needed now. That’s why Canada supports an ambitious, legally binding global agreement on plastics that takes into account the life cycle of plastic pollution.”

A resolution at UNEA would bring the international community together to enact global change through a binding agreement. This means working with stakeholders to encourage investments and advance solutions at the local, regional, and global levels to transition to a circular plastics economy. This includes measures such as improving product design, enabling sustainable use and management, and removing plastics from the environment.

Building off Canada’s 2018 G7 Presidency and ongoing efforts to champion the Ocean Plastics Charter, the federal government advocates for the transition to a circular economy for plastics. The government believes the charter’s targets and objectives can form an important basis for the development of this new, legally binding global agreement on plastic pollution.

On June 9, 2018, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, and the European Union adopted the Ocean Plastics Charter to demonstrate their commitment to take concrete and ambitious action to address the problem.

Canada is delivering $100 million to advance the goals of the Charter and address plastic waste in developing countries, spark innovation to beat plastic pollution, and support innovative private-public partnerships.