After the last round of plastics treaty talks in Kenya ended in a stalemate, and with less than a year left to complete negotiations, advocates for an ambitious agreement are calling for stepped-up action to avoid what they see as a weak treaty.
"I think we all feel 2024 is such an important year when it comes to negotiations, and we're not in a good place," said Kirsten Schuijt, director general of WWF International, speaking at a Jan. 17 online panel from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
"From our perspective, we need to think really smartly and sharply about how do we use the next negotiations to keep a very practical approach, knowing that if we wait for a treaty that will be a consensus treaty that will engage all the countries, it's going to be a watered down and vague treaty," she said. "That's unfortunately the stage we have reached."
Two panels at Davos looked at the current state of treaty talks and what to expect at the next. The fourth of five rounds is planned for the Canadian capital of Ottawa in late April. What would be the final round of negotiations is slated for South Korea in November, with a diplomatic signing session planned for early 2025.
The Kenya round ended in a difficult spot, with countries unable to reach agreement on how to have important technical work ahead of the Canada round. Strong differences remained between oil-producing states and other countries over how to move forward, with some observers saying those problems risked putting the treaty in jeopardy.