Consultation workshop: Global Plastic Treaty: Towards the INC-4

Consultation workshop: Global Plastic Treaty: Towards the INC-4

Ho Chi Minh, 26 March 2024 – The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE), in collaboration with the National Plastic Action Partnership (NPAP), UNDP Viet Nam, Pacific Environment (PE), and World Wildlife Fund for Nature in Viet Nam (WWF – Viet Nam), organized the consultation workshop with relevant stakeholders from businesses, associations, social organizations and academia to design the negotiation scenarios and recommendations on the revised Zero Draft towards the 4th Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC-4) of Global Plastics Treaty. This event is part of the consultation series chaired by the MONRE during the intergovernmental negotiating committee (INCs) process, where the 4th session (INC-4) will be continued in Ottawa, Canada, this April 2024.

The revised Zero Draft (Document UNEP/PP/INC.4/3) was published by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) in December 2023, including six main parts. Most of the viewpoints from member states and international organizations of the previous INCs concentrate on the options of Part II including, Chemicals and polymers of concern, Problematic and avoidable plastic products, including short-lived and single-use plastic products, Product design, composition and performance, non-plastic substitutes, Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) schemes, emission and releases throughout the plastic life cycle and waste management. The existing plastic pollution, just transition, tracking, monitoring, and labeling are also mentioned in other parts, with different options raised about financing, capacity building, technical assistance and technology transfer, national plans, and different control measures and means of implementation for different country members.

The Director General of MONRE’s International Cooperation Department, Mr. Le Ngoc Tuan, asserted that “Since it is adopted, the global treaty on ending plastic pollution will certainly have a direct impact on producing industries, businesses, and consumers at different levels and further change the circular economy model of plastics, from design, production, consumption, and disposal on a global scale. Proactively and actively participating in the negotiation process demonstrates Vietnam’s responsibility in the global joint effort to address plastic pollution, and on the other hand, will contribute to protecting the legitimate rights and interests of Vietnam in the future”.

The Canadian Embassy in Viet Nam, Mr. Brian Allemekinders – Head of Cooperation, also affirmed that “Canada is pleased to support an inclusive and meaningful stakeholder engagement at this important workshop, in preparation for the fourth session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC-4) to develop an international legally binding instrument on plastic pollution, including in the marine environment.  I am excited to see the diverse voices represented at this workshop.  Negotiations and treaty development must be informed by input from stakeholders, civil society, industry, as well as all levels of government.  We look forward to welcoming Vietnam’s delegation for INC-4 in Ottawa, Canada, in April 2024. Canada recognizes the urgent need, domestically and internationally, to work steadfastly to end plastic pollution. Part of the solution is transitioning to a more circular economy where the value of plastics is retained in the economy and waste is reduced”.

The workshop also received recommendations for national implementation plans towards an ambitious international legally binding instrument on ending plastic pollution that is expected to be adopted in late 2024 or early 2025. The Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) scheme has been discussed as a useful tool to involve businesses, in promoting plastic alternatives, environmentally friendly solutions, and effectively unlocking potential investments against plastic pollution, and supporting a Just Transition of the informal force throughout the plastic waste management system. In addition, the approach along the plastic life cycle was emphasized again, requiring the contribution and collaboration of different forces across sectors and areas, from industry, environment, fisheries, agriculture, tourism, communication, and information to e-commerce.

This workshop also brought different stakeholders to visit the circular economy models in Can Gio district, Ho Chi Minh City, that help to transform waste into valuable resources for locality to break the plastic wave. As suggested by the Business Coalition for Global Plastic Treaty in Southeast Asia, collective actions could change the behaviors and lay the foundation for more holistic solutions with advanced technologies and better formality.

The participants of the event include representatives from relevant Ministries joined the intersectoral Delegation of Viet Nam for the negotations of the global plastics treaty, such as Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT), Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), Ministry of Justice (MOJ), Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE) with speakers from International Cooperation Department, Pollution Control Department, The Vietnam Agency of Sea and Islands, etc., diplomatic missions (The Canadian Embassy in Viet Nam, The Norwegian Embassy in Viet Nam, etc.), bussinesses (Coca-Cola, Unilever, Nestle, TOMRA, Dow Viet Nam, Duy Tan Recycling, etc.), associations (Vietnam Plastic Association, Vietnam E-commerce Association, etc.) international organizations and NGOs (UNDP Viet Nam, WWF Viet Nam, Pacific Environment Viet Nam, Yunus Environment Hub, Chemonics, etc.), academia (Vietnam Institute of Sea and Islands, Institute of Strategy and Policy on Natural Resources and Environment, etc.).