Second Informal Meeting with Observers ahead of INC 4

The fourth session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee to develop an international legally binding instrument on plastic pollution, including in the marine environment (INC-4) will take place from 23 to 29 November 2023 at the Shaw Center in Ottawa, Canada.

Together with IndustriALL (plastic production), IUF (plastic use) and the ITUC, PSI leading on this international negotiation as part of the Workers and Trade Unions UN Major Group representing waste collection, disposal and sanitation and related public service workers engaged in the fight against plastic waste pollution. 



PSI statement at the Second informal meeting with Observers ahead of INC-4

Public Services International (PSI) is the Global Union Federation representing over 30 million public service workers in 154 countries. Our members work in all public services, including  national and local utilities in waste collection, management and disposal; water and sanitation; health and care; public emergency services and firefighters; as well as regulatory inspectors and scientists in public environmental and health agencies. We are members of the Trade Union and Workers UN Major Group. 

We have reviewed the Zero Draft and wish to bring some initial comments and make recommendations to the attention of the negotiators. 

We appreciate that the Zero Draft finally includes very necessary mentions to: 

  • All workers – not only waste pickers

  • Just Transition

  • Trade unions and workers’ associations

  • International Labour Organisation (ILO) including to its Just Transitions Guidelines

  • hazardous chemicals and substances

  • occupational health and safety

  • local and regional governments 

However  many of these references these are still bracketed, sometimes missing from key sections, are unspecified or are not anchored to the relevant instruments and concepts they should be referred to. This includes the concept of Decent work as per the ILO definition; references to Conventions 155 on occupational health and safety and C. 170 on chemical management; and to Recommendation 204 on the progressive formalisation of informal workers. 

We therefore we urge negotiators and the Secretariat to make sure these stay firm and therefore become a reference in the final instrument, hence providing a suitable basis for the successful and effective implementation of the final instrument. 

What is still missing is wording around adequate policy measures and provisions for industrial policies supported by public funding for the physical and social (workforce) infrastructure of effective, safe, modern waste management systems (from collection, transportation and sorting to recycling and final disposal) that are safe for human health and for the environment. This is key for developing countries in particular. 

We thank you for your attention and we will provide more detailed feedback. We remain available to provide further input all along the INC-4 process.