The world needs a “strong, ambitious and just” treaty to cut down on the mass-produced plastics which are helping fuel the climate crisis, said the head of the UN-backed secretariat steering international negotiations towards a binding agreement to end the scourge, in an interview this week with UN News.

Millions of tonnes of plastic end up in landfills, rivers and the ocean every year with the potential to enter the food chain, damaging human health and the environment.

Ever since the first world environment conference in Stockholm in 1972, environmental multilateralism has been growing, increasing pressure for a “binding international instrument” on plastic pollution.

This week, negotiators from around the world have been meeting in Nairobi, Kenya for the third session of what is formally known as the International Negotiating Committee (INC) to discuss proposed text.

“We need a strong, ambitious and just plastic treaty, but that is only the first step,” says Jyoti Mathur-Filipp, Executive Secretary of the Secretariat, which came into being through a resolution in the UN Environment Assembly,

She told UN News that it’s time for everyone with a stake in the treaty to start looking at how it can be implemented – a process she believes, can begin even before the treaty is fully adopted and enters into force.

The negotiations process is at its midpoint now. And for the first time, a text of the future treaty is being discussed by the Member States in its ‘zero draft’. The negotiators’ ambition is to have the final text ready by the end of next year and open for signing soon after.