Skip to main content

Opening remarks by the Honourable Barbara Creecy, Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, at the National Stakeholder Consultation Session on the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee Fourth Session (INC-4) on the development of the international legally binding instrument on curbing plastic pollution, to be held in Ottawa, Canada 23-29 April 2024

12 April 2024


Social Partners 
Stakeholders connecting virtually. 
Members of the Media Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, 
Good morning. 

It is my honour to deliver these opening remarks at our National Stakeholder Consultation session ahead of the fourth session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC-4) on the development of the international legally binding instrument on curbing plastic pollution, which is taking place later this month in Ottawa, Canada.

I wish to thank you for being active participants in the process of developing this international instrument. I am informed that the plastic and business sector including civil society and labour continue to play a crucial role at the INC sessions, and in between the INC meetings. Government values your contribution to the shaping of this instrument, and also in informing South Africa’s negotiating position linked to INC-4

INC-4 represents a milestone in global efforts to end plastic pollution, as negotiations progress to textual negotiations based on the revised draft text that was the outcome of consolidation of the views at INC3 in late 2023. Time is of the essence at this juncture given that there is only this fourth session and limited hours of the fifth session based on the mandate arising from UNEA5. I need to remind you that the ambition is to conclude this instrument by the end of 2024.

South Africa remains resolute in supporting global efforts to end plastic pollution. Plastic pollution affects the terrestrial and aquatic including marine environments. South Africa boasts a coastline that covers over 3 000 kilometres, and it is in the interest of environmental sustainability that South Africa is actively engaged in the INC process.

The recognition of the threat plastic pollution poses to human health, ecosystem functioning, and the marine environment keeps the South African members of the INC hard at work. Given the versatility of the plastic product, the lifecycle approach requires a multi-stakeholder focus, and thus government is considering views of interested and affected parties in the negotiations of this internationally legally binding instrument on curbing plastics pollution. Consequently, on the domestic front, the South African negotiations rest on a firm base provided by our Constitution protecting the right to an environment that is not harmful to health, and to have our environment protected from plastic pollution. The reality is that plastics has been targeted for growth as part of our industrial policy and it is incumbent on us that we ensure that this plastic growth is socially, environmentally, and economically sustainable. The full life cycle of plastic manufacture, use, and disposal in the context of the Waste Act and National Waste Management Strategy, 2020 is key. 

The negotiations’ priority obligatory measures include:

  • •Supporting and strengthening waste management services to prevent plastic leaking into the environment. 

  • Emphasis is on waste collection and improving recycling systems through the development amongst others; extended producer responsibility schemes to collect, reuse and recycle plastic waste with the aim of promoting a circular economy in the plastic industry; 

  • Promoting public awareness and clean up campaigns to remove plastic waste from rivers, wetlands, and beaches. 

More action is warranted to tackle plastic pollution. Building on the principles established from INC3 to guide our negotiations:

  • The best available science is needed to guide the criteria to inform priority plastic products and their impact on our environment. This scientific information is needed to conclude the Annexes of this instrument. 

  • Information sharing on chemicals of concern that are used in plastic production needs to be managed in an open and transparent manner. • There are new global obligations that would be introduced that would imply that South Africa needs to domesticate these obligatory and regulatory controls to end plastic pollution. 

  • The obligatory and regulatory measures to curb plastic pollution need to be supported by equally ambitious means of implementation. A financial mechanism that would ensure predictable and adequate financial resources would assist in curbing plastic pollution in developing countries.

INC-4 provides a platform to streamline the textual options and conclude with obligatory measures that can be agreed to at the fifth session of the INC. I look forward to your valuable inputs as part of today’s discussions and the enhancement of our position for INC-4 with the quest to end plastic pollution.

I thank you.


We are professional and reliable provider since we offer customers the most powerful and beautiful themes. Besides, we always catch the latest technology and adapt to follow world’s new trends to deliver the best themes to the market.