According to NGOs, developing nation views won’t be heard in the UN’s plastics debate


NGOs are raising concerns that developing countries will not be represented when the United Nations starts formal negotiations on plastic pollution this week.

According to a group of 24 NGOs, the UN’s failure to effectively involve developing country voices makes it unlikely that the negotiations will result in meaningful progress towards tackling the global plastic pollution crisis.

The negotiations, known as the Global Marine Plastic Pollution Framework, will begin as part of the UN Environment Assembly meetings at the UN headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya. Governments, civil society groups, and industry representatives from more than 60 countries are expected to attend.

However, the environmentalists warned that many developing countries are not sending representatives or are planning to send only junior staff who do not have authority to commit to meaningful action.

“Without meaningful representation, major contributors to plastic pollution in the developing world – from Asia-Pacific, Africa, and Latin America – will remain sidelined and unable to make their voices heard at a global level,” said Adrian Wilson, oceans advocate at Greenpeace UK.

The groups urged richer countries to do more to ensure that UN negotiations are inclusive, starting with support for more effective representation from developing countries at the talks, and ultimately at the UN Environment Assembly itself.

They also called for stronger, binding mechanisms for countries to report their progress in addressing the plastic pollution crisis, citing inadequate progress produced by voluntary targets.