Public Event

Plastic pollution and trade: WTO, Basel Convention, and a global treaty on plastic pollution

Plastic pollution occurs across the life-cycle of plastics, with negative impacts on marine ecosystems, on land and on the climate, as well as on public health and sustainable development. There is growing recognition of the scale and urgency of global plastic pollution crisis, and of the need to tackle the ‘upstream’ sources of plastic proliferation and pollution alongside efforts to address ‘downstream’ waste.

In 2021, over 100 countries are calling for a new global agreement to tackle plastic pollution and for a decision on next steps at the UN Environmental Assembly (UNEA) in 2022. Alongside, over 190 countries have signed new amendments to the Basel Convention to better regulate trade in plastic waste. In addition, over 50 WTO Members have cosponsored a Ministerial Statement on Plastic Pollution to be launched at the WTO’s 2021 Ministerial Conference.

To build on this momentum, the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) and the Forum on Trade, Environment & the SDGs (TESS) held a discussion on “Plastic Pollution and Trade: WTO, Basel Convention and a Global Treaty on Plastic Pollution” on 2 December 2021, 10:30-11:45 CET, during the IISD Trade + Sustainability Hub 2021.

The session addressed the questions – How does plastic trade affect communities and the environment? Why are trade policies relevant and how can they support and complement international commitments and evolving international efforts to tackle plastic pollution?

Watch the session:


Moderator: Carolyn Deere Birkbeck, Director, Forum on Trade, Environment & the SDGs (TESS)

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