INC Chair
Waste Management and Pollution Control

20 April 2024, Ottawa Canada - The Chair of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) to develop an international legally binding instrument on plastic pollution, including in the marine environment, Ambassador Luis Vayas Valdivieso, has expressed optimism that negotiators from all over the world, including Pacific countries, can come up with an agreed text in Ottawa Canada, in the next two weeks, to take one step closer to a treaty on plastics.
“I am confident that we can do it,” he said. “We have two more INCs, one here in Canada and then another one in Busan, there is not a lot of time and that is why I am asking everyone to work hard. I am confident that what we have achieved thus far with the structure of work we have proposed, that here in Ottawa, we could have an agreed text to allow us to move this work forward to end plastic pollution.”
Delegations from the Pacific are joining more than 2000 delegates representing members, observer organisations, UN entities, intergovernmental organisations, and non-governmental organisations, civil societies, industry groups at the fourth session of the INC, to negotiate the text of the revised zero draft, aimed to address the 350 million metric tons of plastic waste the world creates every year, and the problems this brings.
The fourth session follows INC-1 in Punta del Este, Uruguay, in November 2022, INC-2 in Paris, France, and the INC-3 in Nairobi, November 2023, where the goal was to agree on a first draft. This did not happen. Negotiations broke down in the last days of the meeting, and delegates could not agree on essential details such as what constitutes the life cycle of plastic or on whether to put a cap on plastic production. A revised draft text of the international legally binding instrument on plastic pollution has since been released. 
Fourteen Pacific countries have been actively engaged in the process. In the lead up to INC-4, delegations from the Pacific have been preparing and finalising their positions through several preparatory meetings. The first was the Pacific Small Island Developing States (PSIDS) meeting at Novotel followed by the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) at the University of Ottawa.
Samoa, as the Chair of AOSIS, acknowledged the work of the INC Chair and the Secretariat noting that it has been very useful as we collectively work toward our goal of completing the work of the INC by the end of 2024. 

Ambassador Luteru
“Today is the second of three days of AOSIS preparatory meetings where we are preparing SIDS positions for INC4 in line with the Chair’s scenario note. We take this opportunity to reiterate consideration from the INC Chair, for small delegations such as ours in the organisation of contact groups and subgroups,” said the Permanent Representative of Samoa to the United Nations, His Excellency Fatumanava-o-Upolu III Dr Pa’olelei Luteru. 
“AOSIS is of the view that an effective intersessional work programme is essential to meet our ambitious timeline.  To this end, AOSIS has prepared a proposal for consideration by members of the INC, without prejudice to any developments which may occur at INC-4. The proposal is intended to invite discussions on potential areas and modalities of intersessional work, and is not intended to prejudge the outcomes of INC-4.
“We hope that this proposal would be considered favourably and lead to fruitful engagements on a potential intersessional work programme between INC-4 and 5 to help advance our negotiations.”
Ambassador Luis Vayas Valdivieso welcomes the work of groups like PSIDS and AOSIS, saying all hands on deck are required to move the treaty negotiations forward. 
“What do I want in INC-4? For me INC-4 should the moment that we negotiate, negotiate and negotiate. That is my intention as the Chair,” he said. “The Secretariat has released a scenario note, we have also proposed a structure for our work, and a working plan that I would like to see in INC-4. We’ve seen the past INCs, especially in Nairobi, that countries were negotiating in a very constructive environment. We start negotiations on Tuesday, let’s pick up from where we left in Nairobi and we keep on negotiating.”
The Executive Secretary of the INC Secretariat, Ms Jyoti Mathur-Filipp, agrees, adding: “These next few days of negotiations will be critical to build on the progress the Committee made at INC-3 in Nairobi to advance the development of the draft text of the international legally binding instrument on plastic pollution, including in the marine environment.”
The INC Chair and the Executive Secretary addressed the AOSIS membership during a session of their three-day preparatory meeting. They were joined by the Chair of AOSIS, His Excellency Fatumanava and the Chair of PSIDS, Vanuatu’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, His Excellency Ambassador Odo Tevi.

AOSIS membership
The fourth Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee to develop an international legally binding instrument on plastic pollution, including in the marine environment is taking place in Ottawa, Canada, from 23-29 April 2024.
The Pacific Islands are represented by the Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu through the support of the Government of Australia and the United Nations.
They are supported by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), working with partners the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS), Office of the Pacific Ocean Commissioner (OPOC), The Pacific Community (SPC), Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA), Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), Centre for International Environmental Law (CIEL), University of Wollongong, WWF and Massey University.
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