South Africa’s Negotiating position on the draft result for an international legally binding instrument on plastic pollution adopted by Cabinet

16 February 2022

Cabinet has adopted South Africa’s negotiating mandate on the draft resolution on an internationally legally binding instrument on plastic pollution to be tabled at the resumed 5th session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA 5.2) scheduled to take place in Nairobi, Kenya, from 28 February – 2 March 2022.

South Africa is in support of addressing the issue of marine litter and plastic pollution in line with the position proposed by the African continent.

Our country is in support of mandating the Executive Director of Unep to establish an Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) under UNEA to negotiate an internationally legally binding instrument on plastic pollution given the environmental challenges faced as a consequence of plastic pollution.

The Resolution, which was originally sponsored by Rwanda and Peru, also proposes provisions which should be addressed by such an internationally legally binding instrument on plastic pollution namely:

  • The objectives of the instrument and establish as necessary targets, definitions, methodologies, formats and obligations
  • To address product design and use, including compounds, additives and harmful substances as well as intentionally added microplastics;
  • To promote national acting plans to prevent, reduce and remediate plastic pollution, tailored to local and national circumstances and the characteristics of specific sectors and support regional and international cooperation and coordination;
  • To increase knowledge through awareness raising and information exchange on best practices to prevent plastic pollution and promote behavioural change;
  • To monitor and report on national and international progress on implementation of the agreement;
  • To provide scientific and socio-economic assessments and to monitor and report on plastic pollution in the environment;
  • To cooperate and coordinate with relevant regional and international conventions, instruments and organisations;
  • To specify financial and technical arrangements as well as technology transfer assistance to support implementation of the convention
  • To address implementation and compliance issues;
  • To promote research and development into innovative solutions.

South Africa will also, additional to these provisions listed above, request for the inclusion of the recognition of the special needs and circumstances of Africa and that the internationally legally binding global agreement on plastics pollution must include the principles of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities in light of national circumstances.

South Africa will also stress the need for new, additional and predictable finance, including technology transfer, develop and deployment as well as capacity building to support developing countries, in particular Africa for its implementation.

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