A black and white image of two women in a protest, one speaking through a sound magnifier. Text overlay in green reads: "Civil Society Urges Action on Conflict of Interest. Advocating for transparency in Plastic Treaty negotiations.

Next week, the world’s governments meet in Ottawa to negotiate an ambitious global plastic pollution treaty. It’s not often an historic global event comes to Canada but it has happened. The Montreal Protocol, the most successful international environmental agreement, resulted in elimination of ozone depleting chemicals and recovery of the Earth’s protective layer.

It’s now become clear that the billions of tons of plastics produced every year are impacting human health, nature, our oceans and more. Will the political leaders and experts meeting in Ottawa give us an agreement to limit global plastic production? Will it be historic?

We must be aware the negotiators are under tremendous pressure from oil companies and plastic manufacturers.  It is up to us to let them know we support strong action.

Not only are plastics harmful to human health and the environment, they are also a significant contributor to the climate crisis. Plastics are made from fossil fuels and greenhouse gases are produced at every stage of plastics life cycle. As we use less fossil fuels, the producing companies and countries are planning to divert their fuel products to feedstock to make more plastic.

Now is not the time for gutless measures or voluntary approaches.

The good news is that Canada is a member of the newly-formed High Ambition Coalition to End Plastic Pollution (HAC). They intend to develop a strong international legally-binding instrument that can end plastic pollution by 2040.

You might remember that Canada played a major role in drafting the Montreal Protocol  – to save the ozone layer. It’s still considered the pre-eminent environmental treaty because it worked.

Friends of the Earth Canada and our global network of 73 countries worked hard to save the ozone layer. We know this can be done again for plastic pollution but only if we get fossil fuel companies, countries and their lobbyists out of the way.

The bad news is that this High Ambition Coalition (HAC) is already infiltrated by the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Can you imagine the UAE negotiating in good faith to dramatically reduce the demand for plastic production and therefore, oil production?

In a letter that Friends of the Earth Canada and 90 other civil society groups endorsed, we express concern about conflict of interest by the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) membership in the Coalition. In very polite diplomatic language, we ask the High Ambition Coalition to neutralise the UAE’s presence (really, we mean kick them out).

We also point out that the High Ambition Coalition may be the strongest guardian of the vision to address the full life cycle of plastics, and thus the root causes of the plastic pollution crisis.

Now you might remember that Canada refused to allow lobbyists in the most recent round of discussions to set Canada’s Food Guide. Can we get Canada to do the same on this global stage for the plastic pollution treaty?

 Here’s how you can help.

  1. Send your letter to the Prime Minister and Minister of the Environment and Climate Change. Please feel free to customize it with your own comments.
  2. If you can, make a donation to help with costs during the plastic treaty negotiations.
  3. If you represent an organization, you are welcome to add its name to the global No Ambition with UAE in the HAC letter.


P.S.  On Earth Day April 22, you can join the twitter storm on X (formerly known as Twitter)

Twitter post

This #EarthDay, all eyes are on Ottawa as the #PlasticsTreaty negotiations kick off. @JustinTrudeau @s_guilbeault it’s time to #EndThePlasticEra. That means:

🚫  Kick out corporate lobbyists    

⬇️ Reduce plastic production

❌ Ban more plastics

 ✔️ Support reuse & refill


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