Plastics Pact at Nairobi World Summit: ‘First step towards cleaner oceans’

World leaders, environment ministers and other organizations from 173 countries recently met in Nairobi, Kenya to discuss the global plastic problem. The conference was attended by 3,400 people and had 1,500 online participants from all UN member states –  including 79 ministers and 17 senior officials.

At this UN World Summit, member states agreed to develop a legally binding treaty covering the full life cycle of plastics – from production to disposal. According to the head of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), Inger Andersen, this agreement is “the most important multilateral environmental agreement since the Paris climate agreement in 2015”. According to Oskar de Roos – plastics expert from the Dutch office of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the unanimously accepted treaty is to ensure that less plastic will be used. Besides it will improve recycling and that more alternatives to plastic will be developed. All is based on the fact that creating cleaner oceans will benefit mankind as a whole.

Over the next two years, the member states will be negotiating the actual details of the treaty. However, it does not mean that nothing happens during this period. Andersen (UNEP) described the agreement as a “triumph of planet Earth over single-use plastics”, but she also warned that the mandate is no “two-year break”.