World leaders are setting their sights on controlling plastic pollution at the 5th United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA), where India will play a vital role in pressing the issues of sustainable use and recycle economy, Union Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav said on Monday. Yadav, who will represent the country at the UNEA later this week in Nairobi, said India is also likely to move a resolution on the issue of marine litter. "India is going to play a vital role in the UNEA on the issues of sustainable use and recycle economy. Our ministry has already brought out the Plastic Waste Management (Amendment) Rules, 2022, following the directions and vision of the prime minister to ban single-use plastic by 2022. "India will also move a resolution at the UNEA on the issue of marine litter. We will try to reach a consensus with other member countries on environment and sustainability at this international conference. It is in line with the LIFE mantra given by the PM at COP 26 in Glasgow," the minister told reporters.
According to the ministry, on Sunday, three resolutions were put forth by member states on plastic pollution – Peru, Rwanda, Japan and India. The two draft resolutions of Peru, Rwanda and Japan were based on the principle of legally binding target while the Indian draft resolution was based upon the principle immediate collective voluntary action by countries. In order to allow for global action to take place, India agreed for setting up of an intergovernmental negotiating committee for a new international legally binding treaty, a ministry official said, adding that the Indian delegation is engaged constructively in the negotiations. "Yesterday, in the working group meeting, the concerns raised by India were addressed and the key provisions of the Indian draft resolution were added to the merged agreement text," the official said, adding that on Monday, a landmark resolution merging all draft resolutions has been agreed to by the parties.
The draft resolution will be put for adoption by the UNEA, after which an inter-governmental negotiating committee will negotiate the provisions. The UNEA is the world's highest decision-making body on environment with the membership of all 193 UN member states. The first session of UNEA-5 (UNEA-5.1) was held online on February 22-23, 2021, the ministry official said, adding that substantive matters that require in-depth negotiations were deferred to a resumed in-person session of UNEA-5 from February 28-March 2, 2022 (UNEA-5.2). The high-level segment of the fifth session will take place on March 2 under the theme 'Strengthening Actions for Nature to Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals'. The UNEA will be held from February 28-March 4 with a special session of the Environment Assembly to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP@50), which will be held on March 3 and 4 under the leadership of the Presidency and the Bureau of the sixth session of the Environment Assembly.