What the Govt is doing International Action

Aotearoa New Zealand begins negotiations on a UN treaty to end plastic pollution

Aotearoa New Zealand is taking part in global negotiations to establish an international legally binding treaty to end plastic pollution.

In March 2022, 193 nations endorsed a historic decision to end plastic pollution and negotiate an international legally binding agreement to end plastic pollution; the negotiations are due to conclude by the end of 2024.

The landmark decision includes the need to address the full lifespan of plastic, including production, design and disposal. It will also take aim at microplastics – extremely small pieces of plastic debris broken down from the disposal and breakdown of consumer products.

In the international negotiations, Aotearoa New Zealand will advocate for an agreement that addresses the full lifespan of plastic, aligns with the waste hierarchy and circular economy principles (including using less plastic and greater reuse of materials), and minimises the use of particularly harmful plastics.

Additionally, New Zealand has joined other countries, including Australia, Canada, Norway, and the UK, in the High Ambition Coalition to End Plastic Pollution. The High Ambition Coalition is committed to develop an ambitious international legally binding treaty and shares a common ambition to end plastic pollution by 2040.

Aotearoa New Zealand is advocating for a treaty that incorporates indigenous knowledge and the best available science, and considers the specific needs of the Pacific region. Pacific Island countries depend on healthy seas and soil for their livelihoods. They do not produce plastic waste, yet they are disproportionately impacted by plastics produced thousands of kilometres away.