World Environment Day celebration in Geneva: Multilateral solutions to beat plastic pollution

This year marks the 50th anniversary of World Environment Day, which focuses on solutions to plastic pollution. This high-level dialogue highlight ed the efforts and progress undertaken by actors in Geneva to beat plastic pollution, building on the momentum generated by this World Environment Day in mobilizing transformative action from every corner of the world.

Since its first celebration in 1973, World Environment Day has been an occasion to raise awareness on environmental problems and to call for collaborative action across actors around the world. Fifty years later, the problem of plastic pollution has become a major contributor to the triple planetary crisis of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution. With more than 430 million tonnes of plastic produced every year worldwide and predictions of annual production reaching up to 1,100 million tonnes by 2050, bold solutions are necessary as currently only a fraction of these is recycled or reused.

Science and solutions to tackle the problem are available, therefore governments, companies and other stakeholders must scale and speed up actions to solve this crisis. At its resumed session of the fifth meeting in March 2022, the United Nations Environment Assembly adopted a landmark resolution to develop a legally binding instrument on plastic pollution, including in the marine environment, with the ambition to complete the negotiations by end of 2024.

Building on this momentum and on other milestones addressing plastics on the environmental agenda, this World Environment Day is celebrated under the theme ‘Solutions to Plastic Pollution’ serving as an occasion to mobilize transformative action from every corner of the world.

International Geneva is strongly engaged in the agenda to beat plastic pollution. The outcomes of recent negotiations, and the Geneva Beat Plastic Pollution Dialogues that kicked off at the end of 2020, provided some concrete examples of how multilateral Geneva is engaged in finding solutions to address this major crisis, including the BRS COPs, SAICM ICCM5, UNEA-6, and other processes in Geneva, such as at the World Trade Organization, the World Health Assembly, the International Labour Conference, or the Human Rights Council. Held immediately after the end of the INC-2 negotiations in Paris, this celebration also highlighted outcomes from the intergovernmental process and discuss multilateralism and cooperation in action.

Leading diplomats and international experts highlighted how international Geneva multilateral diplomacy system, with its numerous intergovernmental organizations, permanent governmental missions, NGOs, platforms, academic institutions, and other stakeholders, are engaged in finding solutions to beat plastic pollution.

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