Results from UN INC-4 negotiations on a global plastics treaty

The fourth session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC-4) on a global agreement to end plastic pollution concluded last month, marking significant progress towards a legally binding treaty. As reported by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), “more than 2,500 delegates participated in INC-4, representing 170 Members and over 480 Observer organizations including – non-governmental organizations, intergovernmental organizations, and UN entities,” meaning “INC-4 marked the Committee’s largest and most inclusive gathering to date, with Observer participation increasing by almost fifty percent.” 

This session, which followed “INC-1 in Punta del Este in November 2022, INC-2 in Paris in May/June 2023, and INC-3 in Nairobi in November 2023,” has direct implications for the cosmetics and personal care industry. In advance of “INC-5 – set to be the end of the INC process,” which is “scheduled for November 2024 in Busan, the Republic of Korea,” we reviewed official media releases from the US Department of State and UNEP regarding the recent proceedings, and have compiled our critical takeaways for cosmetics and personal care product manufacturers and suppliers. 

Advanced draft text

The session advanced the draft text of the international legally binding instrument to address plastic pollution. This text includes critical components such as emissions and releases, production and product design, waste management, and addressing problematic and avoidable plastics. For example, as reported in the State Department’s press release, during INC-4, “we put forward textual proposals in several sections, including obligations aimed to control emissions and releases of hazardous pollutants from plastic production facilities and waste management facilities handling plastic waste.”  

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