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A Toxics-Free Future



Closing Statement

Presented by Dr. Tadesse Amera, IPEN Co-Chair

December 2, 2022

Good evening Mr. Chair and Distinguished Delegates. We would like to offer some reflections on the first session of the INC.

Tomorrow, we will return to the communities in which we live and work and where children, our families, workers, and communities are exposed to dangerous chemicals in their everyday lives from plastics. This is not an abstract issue. We continue to see people suffering from the effects of plastic pollution. As we come to a close, we would like to reflect on our collective moral responsibility. It is our ultimate responsibility to protect the health of the most vulnerable among us through the negotiation of a strong treaty on plastics that drastically reduces the plastics produced.

We heard many delegates express the need for addressing both the environmental and health impacts of plastics, by addressing harmful polymers and chemicals and calling for transparency of chemical ingredients. Toxic chemicals are incompatible with a circular economy. 

We look forward to having the opportunity to continue to work with you in the same constructive and collaborative manner through the upcoming negotiating sessions. 

Thank you, Chair, delegates and colleagues; we thank the hospitality of the Republic of Uruguay and we wish for a safe journey home to all.

Statement on Multi Stakeholders Forum

Presented by Pamela Miller, IPEN Co-chair

December 2, 2022

Thank you Mr Chair, distinguished delegates. I serve as Co-Chair of IPEN. 

IPEN has been an active stakeholder representing public interest organizations bringing voices from our network of more than 600 organizations in over 120 countries mainly from the global south to the negotiations, starting with the Stockholm Convention. Our members from around the world are directly harmed throughout the entire life cycle of plastics from the production of fossil fuels, plastics and chemicals manufacturing, use and disposal. We uphold and support a health and human rights-based approach in the development of the new treaty. 

We have set an ambitious goal to finish the negotiations within two years while many other global processes are ongoing at the same time. Therefore, the Multi Stakeholders forum during the INCs is both a distraction and a waste of human and financial resources towards completing the negotiations on time. We believe that the best way to have the broadest participation is to have an open, transparent and inclusive process both during the INCs and in the intersessional period. We stand in support and solidarity with the waste pickers and for their rights to a safe and healthy work environment.

IPEN will continue to engage at the national and regional levels as well as an INC observer to ensure that the toxic impacts and harmful health effects of plastics are addressed in the final text of the treaty. A multi stakeholders forum during the INCs will not be necessary.

Thank you for your consideration of our perspective.

Statement on Stakeholders’ participation from the IPEN Youth caucus

Presented by Dorothy Otieno 

December 2, 2022

Thank you very much for the floor. I am making this intervention on behalf of the IPEN Youth Caucus. 

Plastic pollution is an intergenerational problem. Plastic and its toxics stay in the environment for a very long time, across generations, and some chemicals like BPA have intergenerational impacts. Hence, as plastics are a problem now, they will become a problem in the future.

Youth would like to contribute actively throughout the INC process, in order to do so we need to remove barriers to participation, particularly financial ones.

However, we do not believe the Multistakeholder Forum as organised before INC1 is the best way to involve the youth in the process. For the future we would recommend using the large amount of resources used for this Forum to support participation of more delegates from developing countries, youth members, and interpretation in the contact groups. 

We would rather want the INC to guarantee and integrate youth and stakeholders’ contributions in the process, and effectively contribute to the negotiations. 

Additionally, providing opportunity for submissions, consultations and involvement in the intersessional process would be a valuable way to involve future generations in the process, including the possibility to organize side events in future INCs.

However, if a Multistakeholder Forum is to be organized before INC2, we would want it:

  • To be separate and not run in parallel with the INC, 
  • To be organized in a manner that includes us from early consultations, based on a fair and equitable access, and
  • To avoid the conflict of interest in this process. Today, the UN Office on Human Rights denounced that “There is a fundamental and irreconcilable conflict between the interests of the plastics industry and businesses deeply implicated throughout its supply chain and the human rights and policy interests of people affected by the plastics crisis. The plastic industry has disproportionate power and influence over policy relative to the general public. Human rights are needed to counter-balance these powerful interests.”. 
  • Priority should be given to the voices of those who are most impacted by the problems that these interests have caused, including children and youth, women, waste pickers, scientists, and Indigenous Peoples.  

Thank you for your attention.



Statement on Scientific and Technical Cooperation

Presented by Siddika Sultana, Executive Director, ESDO for IPEN

December 1, 2022

Thank you, Mr Chair,

This week we have heard scientific experts confirm that the science clearly shows that plastics, especially chemicals in plastics, have global consequences for human health and the environment throughout their lifecycle.

IPEN would therefore urge the INC to adopt the precautionary principle in making decisions to prevent the harms of plastics and their associated chemicals.

It is also important that this INC, as well as the Plastics Treaty, work with the independent scientific community and have access to the best available science, free from the influence of corporate interests. 

The scientific community will be a crucial stakeholder to support the INC in its work, including by providing scientific evidence on how to best: 

  • Reduce the amounts of plastics produced;
  • Substitute and eliminate plastics containing hazardous polymers and additives, and;
  • Assess technologies that are currently, without any scientific basis or independent evaluations, promoted as quick fixes to plastic pollution.

There are many different types of knowledge that need to be taken into account, including traditional and indigenous knowledge. It is important to listen to impacted communities, as they have a wealth of knowledge that can be beneficial for the plastics treaty. IPEN works globally with impacted communities and we have together shown that plastics with toxic chemicals are often recycled into toys, plastic dumpsites are contaminating local food chains and that plastic waste is threatening communities in countries where there is limited plastic production and consumption. 

We believe that it is very important that a mechanism to provide scientific support is included in the Plastics Treaty, with strong conflict of interest controls.

Thank You



IPEN Intervention

Presented by Dr. Tadesse Amera, IPEN Co-Chair

December 1, 2022

Thank you, Mr Chair,

We are convened here because of the urgent transboundary global health and environmental crisis caused by plastic pollution throughout the lifecycle. Plastic pollution is a transboundary problem and plastics and their associated chemicals move globally at every stage of their lifecycle. National action plans are a powerful tool for monitoring the effectiveness of the treaty, but this is a problem with no borders, that cannot be solved by countries individually. 

The harmful impacts happen globally and plastic feedstock, materials, and their chemicals travel around the world, and finally continue to travel when they become waste and when they end up polluting the environment. Microplastics cross oceans and air, travelling thousands of kilometres in a matter of days to weeks.

A global approach would require reducing the amounts of plastics produced and driving the transition to a safe, toxic-free circular economy, respectful of the human right to a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment.

In order to do so, IPEN believes that parties to the treaty should apply preventive and precautionary control measures should be informed by the following considerations: 

  • Adopting global sustainable design criteria can avoid chemical hazards from plastic additives, polymers and components.
  • Providing information on plastics’ composition can lead to producers’ awareness, consumer confidence, and safer recycling and disposal.
  • Regulating toxic plastics and promoting alternative materials can avoid harmful wastes

We would therefore foresee the treaty to include reporting and monitoring requirements on:

  • The implementation of measures that prohibit plastics that are made with toxic polymers and additives
  • On the implementation and effectiveness of design criteria for plastics that would aim at waste minimization and be free of hazardous chemicals 
  • The obligation to allow transparency and traceability on the types and amounts of plastics produced, imported, and exported, as well as plastic waste generation, collection, and end-of-life management 

Thank you.



IPEN Plenary Statement

November 30, 2022

Thank you, Mr. President,

We are convened here because of the urgency of the global health and environmental crisis caused by plastics. IPEN believes that a specific treaty with control measures would be the best approach to face the challenge ahead. The specific treaty should primarily seek to reduce the amounts of plastics produced and to drive the transition to a toxic-free circular economy. The treaty should facilitate the enjoyment of the right to a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment.  

In order to do so IPEN believes that:

  • The objective of the future treaty should be to protect human health and the environment from all adverse impacts of plastics and lead to sustainable production and consumption of plastics with a focus on reduction and minimization.
  • The treaty should be based on the precautionary principle and be informed by science generated by scientists free from corporate interests.
  • The scope should encompass the sourcing, production, design, use, and disposal of all plastic materials.

Furthermore, to eliminate or minimise the adverse impacts of plastics on human health and the environment, the INC should consider developing design criteria to transition towards a toxic-free economy for plastic materials and uses that are deemed essential. Such criteria should seek to:

  • Eliminate groups of chemicals, including polymers, of concern throughout the lifecycle of plastics
  • Develop transparency requirements, allowing for the traceability of chemical ingredients throughout the full lifecycle of plastic materials and products
  • Establish measures to address the plastic pollution legacy

Finally, the treaty should ensure the application of the “polluter pays principle” requiring that the petrochemical industry is held accountable for impacts on human health, society, and the environment caused by the production, use, dumping, import and export of plastics.



IPEN Opening Statement at INC-1

Presented by Dr. Tadesse Amera, IPEN Co-Chair

November 29, 2022

(read translations of the Opening Statement here)

Thank you, Mr. President, Distinguished Delegates,

I am speaking on behalf of IPEN, the International Pollutants Elimination Network, a network of 600 Health & Environmental Organisations in 126 countries largely based in the Global South. 

Our goal and mission is a toxics-free future for all and plastics threaten our health.

The INC process should guarantee the broadest possible participation of all involved stakeholders, as stipulated in Resolution 5/14 and in line with the practice from the Minamata Convention INC. As observers, we would like to highlight that references to the UNEP UNEA Major Groups structures should be deleted going forward as the INC is a country led process and not a subsidiary body of UNEA.

IPEN believes the Plastics Treaty is a vital step to make significant progress on the protection of human health, the health of other living beings, and the environment from the toxic impacts of plastics throughout their full lifecycle.

The Treaty should focus on plastic pollution throughout the full lifecycle of plastics and address both the visible and the invisible impacts of plastic materials.

In order to do so, the delegates should consider building the Treaty on three basic principles: 

  • First: To best understand what plastics pollution is, one must understand what plastic is: a material made from carbon (mainly fossil fuels) and chemicals. a complex group of mixtures of tens of thousands of chemicals, many of which are toxic.
  • Second: The treaty should address the harmful health effects from plastics throughout their lifecycle, including improving the transparency on their composition
  • Third: Plastics contain toxic chemicals, we must recognize that toxic chemicals make plastics incompatible with a circular economy.

We look forward to an ambitious and protective Treaty

Our future is in your hands.

Thank you!!