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Plastics Pollution Dialogue finalizes text for MC13 Ministerial Statement

At a meeting of the Dialogue on Plastics Pollution and Environmentally Sustainable Plastics Trade on 26 January, the 76 co-sponsors of the talks celebrated the work completed over the past year and reached agreement on the ministerial statement to be issued at the 13th Ministerial Conference (MC13) at the end of February, a WTO report has said.

Participants welcomed the text as “well balanced” and said it will help to achieve “concrete, pragmatic and effective” outcomes at MC13.

Ambassador Chenggang Li of China, the Chair of the meeting, commended the progress made in finalizing the revised ministerial statement and the factual compilation document, which consists of trade-related practices already being adopted to tackle plastics pollution. The text demonstrates the co-sponsors’ collective commitment to ensuring that MC13 achieves an important milestone in the Plastics Pollution Dialogue, he said.

Ambassador Li further called for solidarity and cooperation among members in the lead-up to and after MC13 to enhance the WTO’s contributions to addressing the global challenge of plastics pollution. Additionally, he announced that the Ministerial Statement will be issued at a press conference at MC13.

Ambassador Omar Zniber of Morocco, a coordinator of the talks, reiterated the importance of WTO members addressing the 21st-century challenge of plastics pollution, given that the UN estimates 19% of greenhouse gas emissions will stem from plastic by 2040. He stated that the revised statement carefully reflects all suggestions from over 600 comments made by more than 50 members.

The statement underscores the enhanced cooperation between the Dialogue and ongoing international processes, notably the synergy with the work at the United Nations Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) to develop an international legally binding instrument on plastics pollution.

Daniela Garcia, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Ecuadorian mission, another coordinator, emphasized the delicate balance struck by the new text. This reflects tremendous work and an inclusive consultation process engaging all participants of the Dialogue, she said. The text sends a clear signal that trade could be a significant contributor to concrete solutions in the face of the pressing challenges of plastics pollution, she added.

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