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Coastal & marine plastic pollution in Koh Rong & Koh S’dach archipelagos, Cambodia. © Bianca Roberts / Fauna & Flora

Coastal & marine plastic pollution in Koh Rong & Koh S’dach archipelagos, Cambodia. © Bianca Roberts / Fauna & Flora

The Global Plastics Treaty

Following the increase of plastic pollution worldwide and the concerns around it, in March 2022, the United Nations Environmental Assembly (UNEA) adopted resolution 5/14 to end plastic pollution, with the ambitious goal of negotiating a Treaty by the end of 2024.

Communities around the world are impacted daily by plastic pollution in terms of health and livelihoods, damage to sensitive ecosystems and broad socio-economic implications. The development of a Treaty to tackle plastic pollution offers a unique opportunity to protect the environment, humans and biodiversity from the harmful effects of plastic pollution.

What does Fauna & Flora want the Treaty to include?

Pollution is a transboundary issue that requires global measures, we need a strong and ambitious Treaty that works for people and the planet. Here are four important aspects that we are looking at very closely.

Seahorse in plastic. © Morokot Long / Fauna & Flora

Seahorse in plastic. © Morokot Long / Fauna & Flora

Biodiversity

Plastic pollution is a known driver of biodiversity loss which further exacerbates the effects of the triple planetary crisis. The text of the Treaty must consider and avert both the physical and chemical impact of plastic pollution of all scales – macro and microplastic – for biodiversity.

NGO protest outside UNESCO, Paris. © Catrin Norris / Fauna & Flora

NGO protest outside UNESCO, Paris. © Catrin Norris / Fauna & Flora

Empowering local knowledge holders

The Treaty must enable equitable and nationally appropriate solutions, prioritising the world’s most vulnerable communities. While a global problem, territories in the Global South are disproportionately affected by plastic pollution, we want to make sure that local voices are driving both the development and implementation of an ambitious, effective and locally appropriate Treaty.

Nurdles on a Norfolk beach. © Edward Marshall / Fauna & Flora

Nurdles on a Norfolk beach. © Edward Marshall / Fauna & Flora

Microplastic pollution

This is a pervasive, persistent form of pollution that severely jeopardises the health of people and planet. Solutions to microplastic pollution must be holistic; focused on conditions at source, integrated and applied across the whole life cycle of plastic and plastic products. Microplastics should be addressed by all control measures and reflected in each part of the treaty.

    Seahorse in plastic. © Morokot Long / Fauna & Flora

    Seahorse in plastic. © Morokot Long / Fauna & Flora

    Biodiversity

    Plastic pollution is a known driver of biodiversity loss which further exacerbates the effects of the triple planetary crisis. The text of the Treaty must consider and avert both the physical and chemical impact of plastic pollution of all scales – macro and microplastic – for biodiversity.

    NGO protest outside UNESCO, Paris. © Catrin Norris / Fauna & Flora

    NGO protest outside UNESCO, Paris. © Catrin Norris / Fauna & Flora

    Empowering local knowledge holders

    The Treaty must enable equitable and nationally appropriate solutions, prioritising the world’s most vulnerable communities. While a global problem, territories in the Global South are disproportionately affected by plastic pollution, we want to make sure that local voices are driving both the development and implementation of an ambitious, effective and locally appropriate Treaty.

    Nurdles on a Norfolk beach. © Edward Marshall / Fauna & Flora

    Nurdles on a Norfolk beach. © Edward Marshall / Fauna & Flora

    Microplastic pollution

    This is a pervasive, persistent form of pollution that severely jeopardises the health of people and planet. Solutions to microplastic pollution must be holistic; focused on conditions at source, integrated and applied across the whole life cycle of plastic and plastic products. Microplastics should be addressed by all control measures and reflected in each part of the treaty.

Beware of false solutions

As every nation grapples with the scale and challenges associated with ending plastic pollution, solutions must be evidence-based and developed transparently to avoid the introduction of unintended consequences. Solutions must be focused on the source, practicable and tailored to different geographical contexts.

International Coastal Clean Up Day 2018, Koh Rong, Cambodia. © Bianca Roberts / Fauna & Flora

International Coastal Clean Up Day 2018, Koh Rong, Cambodia.

What is Fauna & Flora doing to craft an effective Treaty?

Via the development of technical documents, participation at the negotiation meetings and collaborations with like-minded NGOs and others, Fauna & Flora is working to amplify the voices of local communities implementing practicable solutions to plastic pollution for the benefit of biodiversity and ensuring that the language of the Treaty adequately accounts for biodiversity protection.

Using Fauna & Flora’s international network and our thought leadership, we work with communities around the world and provide them with tools to influence their country delegates. Communities in many places have developed pragmatic, locally appropriate and impactful solutions to the challenges that they are faced with. These solutions have the necessary local support to foster positive, long-term behaviour change and we want to ensure that they are considered during the negotiations.

 

The Fauna & Flora delegation at INC-2, UNESCO Paris, 2023

The Fauna & Flora delegation at INC-2, UNESCO Paris, 2023

The Fauna & Flora delegation at INC-2, UNESCO Paris, 2023.

Resources

Community lessons – practicable, locally-led solutions

It is vital that the Treaty is driven by and representative of the needs of local actors, which is why Fauna & Flora and ZSL have worked with regional teams and partners to produce a series of case studies to demonstrate how communities around the world are responding to plastic pollution. These case studies outline the impacts plastic pollution has on communities, and, most importantly highlight locally appropriate solutions developed to tackle this issue and what these communities want the Treaty to address.

Case studies

Bahari Moja explain the challenge of plastic pollution in Kenya.

Bahari Moja marine litter management initiative cleaning up Kenya's coastline. © Bahari Moja

Bahari Moja marine litter management initiative cleaning up Kenya's coastline. © Bahari Moja

Community project improving marine litter management on remote Kenyan coastlines

Download case study (PDF)

Majel Kong, Research Specialist, Fauna & Flora, Cambodia. © Manita Hem / Fauna & Flora

Majel Kong, Research Specialist, Fauna & Flora, Cambodia. © Manita Hem / Fauna & Flora

Addressing single-use plastic pollution in Marine Protected Islands in Cambodia: A pilot project

Download case study (PDF)

Plastic nurdles collected in a crab shell. © Julie Davies

Plastic nurdles collected in a crab shell. © Julie Davies

Plastic pellet pollution: A preventable source of microplastic pollution affecting communities, land and sea

View case study (PDF)

    Bahari Moja marine litter management initiative cleaning up Kenya's coastline. © Bahari Moja

    Bahari Moja marine litter management initiative cleaning up Kenya's coastline. © Bahari Moja

    Community project improving marine litter management on remote Kenyan coastlines

    Download case study (PDF)

    Majel Kong, Research Specialist, Fauna & Flora, Cambodia. © Manita Hem / Fauna & Flora

    Majel Kong, Research Specialist, Fauna & Flora, Cambodia. © Manita Hem / Fauna & Flora

    Addressing single-use plastic pollution in Marine Protected Islands in Cambodia: A pilot project

    Download case study (PDF)

    Plastic nurdles collected in a crab shell. © Julie Davies

    Plastic nurdles collected in a crab shell. © Julie Davies

    Plastic pellet pollution: A preventable source of microplastic pollution affecting communities, land and sea

    View case study (PDF)

Hammerhead shark caught in fishing net. © Toby Matthews / Ocean Image Bank

Hammerhead shark caught in fishing net. © Toby Matthews / Ocean Image Bank

Social enterprise to recycle waste fishing nets in the Philippines

Download case study (PDF)

Hawksbill turtle. © Gregory Piper / Ocean Image Bank

A hawksbill turtle. © Gregory Piper / Ocean Image Bank

Plastic impacts on turtle nesting beaches, Chagos Archipelago

Download case study (PDF)

Plastic pollution on beach. © Jeremy Holden / Fauna & Flora

Plastic pollution on beach. © Jeremy Holden / Fauna & Flora

Reducing the impacts of plastic pollution on wildlife and people in St Helena

Download case study (PDF)

    Hammerhead shark caught in fishing net. © Toby Matthews / Ocean Image Bank

    Hammerhead shark caught in fishing net. © Toby Matthews / Ocean Image Bank

    Social enterprise to recycle waste fishing nets in the Philippines

    Download case study (PDF)

    Hawksbill turtle. © Gregory Piper / Ocean Image Bank

    A hawksbill turtle. © Gregory Piper / Ocean Image Bank

    Plastic impacts on turtle nesting beaches, Chagos Archipelago

    Download case study (PDF)

    Plastic pollution on beach. © Jeremy Holden / Fauna & Flora

    Plastic pollution on beach. © Jeremy Holden / Fauna & Flora

    Reducing the impacts of plastic pollution on wildlife and people in St Helena

    Download case study (PDF)

Recycling plastics. © Fundação Príncipe

Recycling plastics. © Fundação Príncipe

Príncipe - An island wide effort to tackle plastic pollution

Download the case study (PDF)

Releasing a turtle, Nicuragua. © German Garcia / Fauna & Flora

Releasing a turtle, Nicuragua. © German Garcia / Fauna & Flora

Innovation and community engagement to reduce plastic pollution in Nicaragua

Download the case study (PDF)

    Recycling plastics. © Fundação Príncipe

    Recycling plastics. © Fundação Príncipe

    Príncipe - An island wide effort to tackle plastic pollution

    Download the case study (PDF)

    Releasing a turtle, Nicuragua. © German Garcia / Fauna & Flora

    Releasing a turtle, Nicuragua. © German Garcia / Fauna & Flora

    Innovation and community engagement to reduce plastic pollution in Nicaragua

    Download the case study (PDF)

Briefings

Fauna & Flora's Position Paper

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pdf
212 KB

Marine Plastics: A threat to biodiversity and conservation efforts

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pdf
2 MB

Plastic credits – A critical examination of plastic credit schemes (white paper preview)

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pdf
169 KB

Submissions

Fauna & Flora Plastics Treaty submission - Biodiversity and local voices

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601 KB

Fauna & Flora Plastics Treaty submission - Microplastics

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277 KB