Canada supports a new legally binding global agreement on plastics as UN meeting kicks off in Kenya

News release

February 28, 2022 – Gatineau, Quebec

As ministers of the Environment and other leaders meet at the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) in Nairobi, Kenya, this week, more than 170 Member States will deliberate over the launch of a process to develop a new global agreement on plastic pollution.

The Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, and the Canadian delegation are supporting the development of a new ambitious and legally binding global agreement that takes a full life cycle approach to address plastic pollution.

Canada has also been helping to lead the process in its role as co-facilitator, along with Ghana, to bring countries together, build consensus, and secure the mandate needed to develop an ambitious legally binding global agreement. A resolution supporting this mandate will be considered by ministers later this week.

Unsustainable plastic production and consumption, and the associated waste generated, are accelerating at an unprecedented rate. The global impacts of an exponential increase in plastic production are manifested in many areas of the environment and the global plastic pollution crisis is increasingly affecting people and the planet.

A coordinated approach with targeted, ambitious, and sustained action is needed to address plastic pollution globally. A strong resolution at UNEA would launch the necessary process to bring the international community together to enact global change by focusing efforts to tackle plastic pollution across all stages of the plastics life cycle through a binding agreement. This means working with stakeholders to mobilize investments and advance necessary solutions at the local, regional, and global levels to transition to a circular plastics economy. This includes measures such as improving product design, enabling sustainable use and management, and removing plastics from the environment.

Building off Canada’s 2018 G7 Presidency and ongoing efforts to champion the Ocean Plastics Charter, the Government of Canada continues to advocate for the transition to a circular economy for plastics. The Charter’s targets and objectives, which were heavily negotiated and developed in consultation with other governments, industry, and civil society, can form an important basis for the development of a new legally binding global agreement on plastic pollution and scaling up global action. Canada is steadfast in its commitments to demonstrate leadership and take strong action to reduce plastic pollution, protect biodiversity, and promote a healthy environment here at home and around the world.

Domestically, the Government of Canada is moving toward zero plastic waste by 2030, taking regulatory steps to ban harmful single-use plastics, including plastic checkout bags, straws, and six-pack rings as early as the end of 2022. The Government of Canada is also introducing recycled content requirements for plastic products so that more plastic is kept in our economy and out of landfills. Alongside provinces and territories, we are moving forward on a Canada-wide strategy to achieve zero plastic waste, including to make plastics producers responsible for their waste. The Government of Canada has also committed over $19 million to support Canadian small and medium-sized businesses to develop solutions to address plastic pollution.

Quotes

“Canada has been facilitating and supporting the creation of a legally binding agreement on global plastic pollution. We will come to the table every day during the negotiations this week in Nairobi, to do what we can to bring countries together on meaningful action on plastic pollution. Our environment, and the many people and communities affected, simply cannot wait—meaningful commitments are needed now. That’s why Canada supports an ambitious, legally binding global agreement on plastics that takes into account the life cycle of plastic pollution.”

– The Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change

Quick facts

  • On June 9, 2018, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, and the European Union adopted the Ocean Plastics Charter to demonstrate their commitment to take concrete and ambitious action to address the problem.

  • Canada is delivering $100 million to advance the goals of the Charter and address plastic waste in developing countries, spark innovation to beat plastic pollution, and support innovative private-public partnerships.

Associated links

Contacts

Kaitlin Power
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change
819-230-1557
kaitlin.power@ec.gc.ca

Media Relations
Environment and Climate Change Canada
819-938-3338 or 1-844-836-7799 (toll-free)
media@ec.gc.ca

Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Twitter page

Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Facebook page

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