Due to their physical and chemical characteristics, microplastics (tiny particles under 5 mm in length) and nanoplastics (plastic fragments in the <100 nm size range) constitute a particular challenge as they are present across air, soil and sediment, freshwaters, seas and oceans, plants and animals, and in the global food system thereby also affecting human health. While the scientific knowledge on these pervasive contaminants is increasing, important uncertainties prevail. There is a compelling need for sharing research results across national borders and pursuing joint scientific investigations that can shape national strategies to curb plastic pollution.
Engaging in the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee on Plastic Pollution
We are now squarely facing our plastic pollution crisis. The world now recognizes that this synthetic material does not meaningfully degrade, carries toxic chemicals with it and is produced so cheaply that it is far more economical for businesses to continue to produce virgin plastic products than recycle or dispose of it, or even utilize alternatives. Nations around the world are gathering to negotiate an agreement that will end plastic pollution and address its unprecedented impacts on human health and the environment. As reported in GCSE's March 2022 essay, 175 member states adopted UNEA 5/14 Resolution to End Plastic Pollution (“Resolution”) by 2040. Pursuant to the Resolution, the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) consisting of delegates from member states and civil society observers, is meeting every six months beginning November 28, 2022 to develop an international legally binding instrument (ILBI) by 2024.
This is an excerpt from the January 2023 GCSE Essay, titled Unpacking the UNEA Resolution to End Plastic Pollution.
Upcoming: Fourth session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee on Plastic Pollution (INC-4)
To be held on 23 - 29 April 2024 at The Shaw Center in Ottawa Canada
Upcoming: Fifth session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee on Plastic Pollution (INC-5)
- To be held on 25 November - 1 December 2024 in Busan, Republic of Korea
Past: Third session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee on Plastic Pollution (INC-3)
- Held on 13 - 19 November 2023 at the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya
- GCSE Senior Fellows, Mary Ellen Ternes and Dr. Jeffrey Seay, attended as official observer delegates
Past: Second session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee on Plastic Pollution (INC-2)
- Held on 29 May - 2 June 2023 in Paris, France
- GCSE Senior Fellows, Tracy Hester and Dr. Jeffrey Seay, attended as official observer delegates
Past: First session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee on Plastic Pollution (INC-1)
- Held on 28 November - 2 December 2022 in Punta del Este, Uruguay
- GCSE Senior Fellows, Mary Ellen Ternes and Dr. Jeffrey Seay, attended virtually as official observer delegates. Read about their takeaways in the January 2023 GCSE Essay, titled "Unpacking the UNEA Resolution to End Plastic Pollution".
Past: International Summit on Plastic Pollution
- Held on 5 - 6 April 2022 in Long Island, New York, USA. Explore the event agenda and speakers here.
- This event was co-hosted by the Global Council for Science and Environment (GCSE), the Office for Science and Technology of the Embassy of France in the United States, and Long Island University
Past: Resumed fifth session of the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA-5.2)
- Held 28 February - 4 March, 2022 in Nairobi, Kenya
- At UNEA-5.2, a historic resolution was adopted to develop an international legally binding instrument on plastic pollution, including in the marine environment. Learn more about this outcome in the March 2022 GCSE Essay, titled "Protecting the Biosphere: Science Diplomacy in Action to Combat Plastic Pollution".
- Former GCSE Executive Director, Michelle Wyman, attended as an official observer delegate
Past: French-US Workshop “Responding to Plastic Pollution through Science: from research to action”
- Held December 2021 in Le Mans, France
- This event was co-hosted by the French Embassy Office of Science and Technology, the Global Council for Science and the Environment (GCSE) and Le Mans University
French-American Research Cohort on Plastic Pollution
Together with the Embassy of France in Washington, D.C., the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the GDR (Groupement de Recherche) Polymers and Oceans of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), GCSE ran a French-American Research Cohort on Plastic Pollution. The Cohort responded to the increasing political and public awareness of the negative environmental and health impacts of micro- and nanoplastics, which are omnipresent in our environment.
The Cohort aimed to identify and fill remaining knowledge gaps, and to produce actionable scientific knowledge to provide decision-makers with information that can inform, and potentially mitigate, the challenges of micro- and nanoplastics. The Cohort mobilized the deep expertise of the GCSE community and the CNRS/GDR Polymers and Oceans network of 45 French laboratories. In addition, the Cohort engaged other research institutions, government agencies, industry, and other key stakeholders.
Contact Liz Nelson, GCSE Program Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in getting involved.