WE HAVE A MANDATE

On March 2, 2022, UNEA's president brought the gavel down on a historic resolution. With a new mandate, UNEA now seeks to negotiate an international legally binding plastics agreement by 2024.

UNEA reports that the landmark agreement will address the full lifecycle of plastic, "from source to sea.” Inger Andersen, Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), said the agreement is "the most important international multilateral environmental deal since the Paris climate accord." 

This is a milestone, but just the end of the beginning for a solution to the plastics crisis

As negotiations continue over the next two years, we need truly global participation from stakeholders all over the world. These stakeholders need forums to talk to one another and build towards a quick implementation of plans.To that end, OPLN has already begun convening Country Dialogues for the global plastic treaty in Chile, Malaysia, Indonesia, Ghana, Pakistan,  and the United States. 

Participation will be the lifeblood of the solution. Let’s set ourselves up for every holder of every stake to get involved as soon as possible—because there is no time to waste.

Learn More about Country Dialogues
mandate

The Global Plastics 
Treaty Dialogues.

Connecting and catalyzing ALL of the voices central to the ocean plastics crisis to advance a global treaty for plastics.

On February 9th, 2022, the Global Plastics Treaty Dialogues IV were convened…

We saw representatives from Environmental Investigation Agency and the The Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm (BRS) Conventions give presentations on what to expect out of UNEA 5.2 and answer questions from 130+ participants.

There were a range of presentations at Global Plastics Treat Dialogues IV from plastic experts the world over. Just some of the topics covered included:

  • UNEA 5.2 Briefing: What to Expect
  • Possible Outcomes and Expected Paths Forward on the Global Treaty
  • A Review of OPLN's Country Dialogues
  • Envisioning the Path Forward: A Global Treaty in 2022 and Beyond
Check back here soon for a report on the Global Plastic Treaty Dialogue IV
november 2021

On November 10, 2021, we convened 150+ stakeholders, drawn from a wide range of perspectives on the plastics crisis.

The objective of these discussions was to share ideas about possible provisions in a Treaty along with important considerations that should be taken into account in the Treaty’s development.
View the High Level Summary | November 10, 2021
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november 2021

In July, we continued the conversation and increased participation from all over the globe.

We discussed some of the most challenging issues around this issue including Finance & Infrastructure, Market Development & Business Regulations, Climate, Health, and Human Rights & Environmental Justice.
Read the summary of our discussions in the July 2021 Session Report
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final the global plastics treaty dialogues

In March 2021,
we came together...

2 Days
2 Time
Zones
Explored the Possibilities of a Global Agreement fot Plastics
230
Attendees
Learned from Issue Experts on the many facets of the plastic pollution crisis
140
Organizations
Connected with each other, hearing new perspectives and insights
34
Countries
Heard from world leaders and leaders working on the ground tackling plastic pollution
Get the recap

The 2021 Global Plastics Treaty Dialogues

Deepening connection and understanding across the stakeholder map.

Join us for Dialogue III - November 10th

* Sessions will be run in both the Eastern and Western Hemispheres to maximize participation and inclusion around the world.
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The Global Plastics Treaty Dialogues

The Global Plastics Treaty Dialogues is an ongoing, quarterly, activist-to-industry year long series of global online summits in advance of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) decision in February 2022 on whether to pursue a global treaty for plastics.

An estimated 11 million metric tons of plastic enter our oceans each year. That’s a garbage truck and a half of plastic every minute of every day. If we delay dramatic action by just five years an additional 80 million metric tons of plastic will end in the ocean by 2040. That’s fourteen Great Pyramids or two hundred fifty Empire State Buildings worth of plastic trash

That won’t just mean more beached whales with stomachs full of plastic; the human consequences will be extreme too. Healthy ocean ecosystems absorb CO2. A dead ocean has dire consequences for the climate. Plastic has already been found in the air, in the rain, in our bodies, and in our food supply.

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Country Dialogues

To inform the Global Treaty Dialogues and inform national actions plans, OPLN helps convene dialogues with local stakeholders in specific countries. Throughout 2022, we are committed to helping Activist-to-Industry stakeholders the world over come together and have productive dialogues towards participation in a potential global treaty. Every country needs to figure into the global solution to plastic pollution.

Chile

On January 13th, 2022, the Country Dialogues kicked off with an inaugural session in Chile. Together with Plastic Oceans Chile, we convened an online session with support from the Chilean Ministry of the Environment (MMA), WWF Chile, Acción Empresas, Circular, Master of Environmental Law UDD, among others. More than 100 representatives of universities, the private sector, and organized civil society took part.

"This national dialogue is a first step to provide an input to the negotiations on this treaty from the point of view of non-governmental sectors and to build awareness of a global policy that complements and reinforces the national actions of governments, industry and civil society,” said Mark Minneboo, Executive Director of Plastic Oceans Chile.

More sessions in Chile will take place throughout 2022. Check back here in Spring for a report on the Chile Country Dialogues.

A beach cleanup on Easter Island (Rapa Nui). Credit: Plastic Oceans Chile / Plastic Oceans International
A beach cleanup on Easter Island (Rapa Nui). Credit: Plastic Oceans Chile / Plastic Oceans International

United States

On January 27, 2022, the US held its first session of Country Dialogues. In attendance were 100+ participants from an Activist-to-Industry network, 17 of which were representatives of US governmental organizations. 

We were joined by a range of stakeholders engaging all parts of the plastics issue, including Monica Medina, Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs; legislative experts from the offices of Congressman Alan Lowenthal of California’s 47th District and Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon; environmental justice advocate Sharon Lavigne, the 2021 Goldman Prize Recipient for North America; and many more.

Due to the work of activists and industry alike on the ocean plastics issue, and the US announcing support for multilateral negotiations to begin on a global agreement Fall of 2021. 

More sessions in the US will take place throughout 2022.

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usdialogue partone

Ghana

On February 3, 2022, Ghana kicked off its first in a series of Country Dialogues. Together with Ghana National Plastic Action Partnership and Global Plastic Action Partnership, we brought together stakeholders from universities, the private sector, waste pickers, and other parts of Ghanaian civil society.

Representatives from the following organizations participated: Ghana National Plastic Action Partnership, Global Plastic Action Partnership, Recycle Up! Ghana, Miniplast Ltd, Plastic Punch, Kwame Nkrumah'​ University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, and members of several informal waste picker groups.

More sessions in Ghana will take place throughout 2022. Check back here in Spring for a report on the Ghana Country Dialogues.

Ghana

Malaysia

On February 10th and 11th, 2022, Malaysia held its inaugural session of Country Dialogues. Together with WWF-Malaysia, we convened an online session with participation from the Malaysian Plastic Manufacturers Association (MPMA), Break Free From Plastic, The Ministry of Housing and Local Government, Malaysia's Ministry of Environment and Water (KASA), and more.


At the session, KASA made the official release of their National Marine Litter Policy and Action Plan (2021 - 2030). The action plan can be found here.

Malaysia

Indonesia

On February 21 and 22, the first Country Dialogues for a Plastics Treaty were held in Indonesia. We heard from representatives of the UN Environment Programme, Global Plastic Action Partnership, World Resources Institute (WRI) Indonesia, Fiscal Policy Agency, The Incubation Network, SecondMuse, Indonesia National Plastic Action Partnership, and many more.

More sessions in Indonesia will take place throughout 2022. Check back here in Spring for a report on the Indonesia Country Dialogues.

Indonesia

Pakistan

On February 25, just three days before UNEA 5.2 voted to pursue a global plastics treaty, Pakistan held its first Country Dialogue with participation from Pakistan National Plastic Action Partnership, Lahore Conservation Society, WWF-Pakistan, Pakistan Environment Commission, and many more.

More sessions in Pakistan will take place throughout 2022. Check back here in late Spring for a report on the Pakistan Country Dialogues.

pakistan

Clips from the Dialogues

Watch: Peter Thomson Addresses the Chile Dialogues

The United Nations Secretary-General's Special Envoy for the Ocean, Peter Thomson, gave a rousing statement at the inaugural Country Dialogues in Chile. 

"I commend all of you for coming together today for the Chile Country Dialogues to ensure that national action on plastics begins immediately. We cannot afford to wait until the end of the negotiation process to start having these important conversations.”

Tim Grabiel Breaks Down UNEA 5.2 at US Dialogues

Creating a global treaty is not a simple process, but at the first US Country Dialogues, Tim Grabiel from the Environmental Investigation Agency explained it step by step.

Monica Medina Statement at US Dialogues

Monica Medina, Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs began our US Dialogues with a call to action:

“There is way too much plastic and it ends up in the ocean and in the environment where it can persist for centuries and degrade into microplastics that are harmful to us. It spreads to every place on this planet, from the belly of an animal in the most remote parts of Antarctica, to the highest mountaintops in the Himalayas, to the deepest trenches in the ocean. 

It’s breathtaking to think that a plastic bag that we use for just 12 minutes will survive in the environment for hundreds or even thousands of years before it’s totally gone…and we have a moment now to get this global challenge under control. This is the moment to turn the tide on global plastic pollution.” 

Clips from the Dialogues

Why the OPLN, WWF, and Greenpeace

The Ocean Plastics Leadership Network (OPLN) is a 90 member and growing, activist-to-industry organization dedicated to solving the ocean plastics crisis.
OPLN serves as a neutral convener and thought partner to its network, driving productive dialogue, understanding, and action to solve the incredibly complex ocean plastic crisis.

OPLN is a network rather than a coalition, bringing together people coming from very different perspectives. The goal is not to achieve consensus, but understanding - and hopefully new ideas and collaborations. Greenpeace and WWF, the two largest environmental campaigning organizations in the world, are playing a major role in helping OPLN produce an effective and inclusive series of dialogues, but their involvement does not imply partnership with all participants or endorsement of all proposals discussed or outputs shared. OPLN views constructive tension - even among parties with views that can seem diametrically opposed - as key to progress.

Atlantic Garbage Patch

In May of 2019, OPLN gathered 165 public and private sector leaders from organizations including Coca-Cola, Dow, Greenpeace, the American Chemistry Council, the World Bank, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and representatives of some of the world’s 15 million informal waste collectors on a on a boat in the middle of the Atlantic Garbage Patch for four days. Attendees with wildly different visions, perspectives, strategies, and objectives had the opportunity to learn from one another and stretch their imaginations in the heart of the ocean plastic crisis. Boundary-pushing conversations amongst leaders that would have never seen themselves sitting in the same room together built trusting, authentic relationships that ultimately accelerated action.

Reactions from participants in the Ocean Plastics Leadership Summit in the Atlantic Garbage Patch.

About the Treaty

There is hope for agreement on a Global Plastics Treaty that matches the scale and urgency of the problem, but we must act fast.

157 countries to date have now publicly called for a global plastics treaty, while major reports released in recent years from industry, NGOs, and government provide a useful blueprint for discussions. WWF, Ellen MacArthur Foundation and Boston Consulting Group laid out the business case for a global treaty, and 100+ major companies have signed onto a "Business Call for a U.N. Treaty On Plastic Pollution." 

Environmental NGO groups also voiced their support for a plastics treaty in a report from the Center for International Environmental Law, the Environment Investigation Agency and GAIA (Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives). The report has the backing of the Break Free from Plastic movement and Greenpeace. Finally, the Nordic Council of Ministers rolled out a 148-page report that provides a suggested framework and positioning for a future treaty.

These reports reveal there is already alignment on some fundamental points. All call for harmonized reporting on plastics throughout their life cycle, making it possible to account for everything that is being made and how it is handled..But fierce disagreements remain, The time for all parties to begin having the tough conversations required to bridge these gaps is now.

Business

Report compiled by World Wildlife Fund, Ellen MacArthur Foundation, and Boston Consulting Group. Download

Government

Report compiled by Nordic Council of Ministers. Download

Environmental NGOs

Report compiled by CIEL, GAIA, EIA. Download

What to Expect

  • Deep engagement with stakeholder from across the stakeholder spectrum, including petrochemical companies, CPGs, governments, universities, and waste collecting organizations in the Global South;
  • The opportunity for your voice be heard, regardless of your perspective;
  • Better understanding of the nuances of what a treaty means for the world, and how your organization could be affected;
  • Momentum to continue solving this issue throughout the year;
  • Participation in technical mapping breakouts to deeply inform participants about global extended producer responsibility, human rights in the waste collector sector, and green chemistry;
  • Opportunities to engage no matter where you are in the world, with sessions happening globally.
What to Expect

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Ocean Plastics Leadership Network (OPLN)?
The OPLN is a network of organizations dedicated to solving the ocean plastics crisis. Our members span the entire stakeholder map, from environmental NGOs, to industry, governments, and grassroots organizations in the Global South. “Tension equals progress” is the founding principle of our convenings, which take place experientially in the heart of the ocean plastic crisis (in non-Covid times), and currently via virtual meetings.
What is the Global Treaty Dialogue Series and why is the OPLN running this?
The United Nations Environmental Assembly (UNEA) pushed a decision on whether to start negotiations on a Paris Agreement for Plastics from February 2021 to February 2022 due to Covid-19. When this decision to delay by one year was made in November 2020, the OPLN worked together with members including Greenpeace and World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to envision a forum that would bring all stakeholders to the table to map their priorities and positions (many of which are in opposition). The Dialogues were created in the spirit of helping country negotiators understand this highly complex issue in a much deeper way ahead of UNEA-5 in February 2022. As each day passes, momentum for a Global Plastics Treaty is growing, but it is necessary to continue to drive towards action while ensuring the voices of all the organizations dedicated to solving this issue are heard. In short, OPLN has built a tremendous amount of trust and support across the stakeholder spectrum with which to speed progress toward the adoption of a strong and effective treaty.
What is the OPLN’s position on the treaty? Will the Global Plastics Treaty Dialogues participants be making a joint recommendation at the end of this process?
The OPLN is pro-global agreement, pro-urgency, and pro-engagement for all stakeholders. As a convenor, we have a neutral stance on what will actually appear in the Global Plastics Treaty. We believe all stakeholders (from activist to industry) should have a deep understanding of the collective stakeholder landscape and work together to build a more comprehensive worldview with respect to the ocean plastics crisis. As an organization, our foundational position on the ocean plastics crisis is rooted in the data put forth in the 2020 Breaking the Plastic Wave Report published by SYSTEMIQ and Pew Environment.

Breaking the Plastic Wave calls for the immediate scale-up of solutions across the spectrum, dramatically and urgently. This includes upstream solutions (policy initiatives, bans, reuse and refill models, alternative materials) and downstream solutions (fixing a broken recycling system, new technologies, and cleanups).

While OPLN is neutral with respect to specific solutions, we encourage participants in the Global Plastics Treaty Dialogues to have tough and honest conversations about all possible options. All topics should be on the table for discussion no matter how strong the disagreement, from virgin plastic reduction and phasing out single-use plastics to advanced recycling models (chemical recycling).

The Global Plastics Treaty Dialogues will not conclude with recommendations of what should appear in a global treaty. The core output from participants will be a series of stakeholder maps and summaries of views regarding the key issues that will help country negotiators and stakeholders understand the problem and each other more deeply with the goal of ensuring informed debate from the outset of the formal treaty development process.
What are the goals of the Global Plastics Treaty Dialogues?

Our goals are as follows: 

  1. To run a highly inclusive series of meetings engaging a wide range of stakeholders (environmental groups, industry, governments) and have a well-balanced set of organizations from the Global North and Global South representing the entire world. Our guiding mission is to build an inclusive platform where ALL voices will be heard. 
  2. To build a series of dynamic stakeholder maps describing the vast and chaotic stakeholder landscape to help all participants and country negotiators understand positions, commitments, power and inclusion dynamics, and trust dynamics. 
  3. To provide information and insights regarding key issues to drive action and progress for ALL parties involved in solving the ocean plastics crisis so that we do not skip a beat in advance of the Global Plastics Treaty decision at UNEA-5.2 in February 2022.
Who is participating and how can my organization participate?
Industry leaders, governments, and NGOs from the Global North and Global South will be represented at the Dialogues. Members of OPLN are sending a mix of executives and sustainability and policy experts, and there are over 80 organizations confirmed to date. This is an invitation-only series. The OPLN is extending scholarships to select organizations in the Global South and select NGO and government/public sector guests.

Industry leaders, governments, and NGOs from the Global North and Global South will be represented at the Dialogues. Members of OPLN are sending a mix of executives and sustainability and policy experts, and there are over 80 organizations confirmed to date. This is an invitation-only series. The OPLN is extending scholarships to select organizations in the Global South and select NGO and government/public sector guests.
I want to nominate an organization, what are the eligibility criteria?
Any organization can request an invitation via the OPLN.org website or the GlobalTreatyDialogues.org website. Organizations that are dedicated to solving the ocean plastics crisis and are willing to engage in productive dialogue are eligible, but participation is limited and all decisions will be made via guidance from the Ocean Plastics Leadership Network advisory board.
What are the fees to become a member of the Ocean Plastics Leadership Network and join the Global Plastics Treaty Dialogues?
Annual membership in the OPLN, which operates as a non-profit, ranges from $7500 to $20000 USD depending on an organization’s size and operating status. All OPLN members have the opportunity to participate in the Global Plastics Treaty Dialogues. Interested parties, particularly from the Global South, can apply for funding via the Global Plastics Treaty Dialogues Inclusion Fund.
What is the Global Plastics Treaty Dialogues Inclusion Fund?
The GTD Inclusion Fund was designed in consultation with our partners to ensure financial limitations do not prohibit the participation of non-profit organizations in the Global South.
What kinds of programming and activities will be taking place outside of the Global Plastics Treaty Dialogues?
In addition to the core four-part Dialogue Series that will take place in March, July, November, and February, the GTDs

Our Stewardship Council

Erin Simon
Erin Simon
WWF - Head, Plastic Waste + Business
Eirik Lindebjerg
Eirik Lindebjerg
WWF - Global Plastics Policy Manager
Vivien Luk
Vivien Luk
Executive Director, Work
John Hocevar
John Hocevar
Greenpeace, Oceans Campaign Director
Dave Ford
Dave Ford
Executive Director OPLN
Sian Sutherland
Sian Sutherland
Co-Founder, A Plastic Planet
ian rosenberg
Ian Rosenberg
Founder, First Mile
Yoni Shiran
Yoni Shiran
Partner, SYSTEMIQ, Co-Author- Breaking the Plastic Wave

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