We use cookies to imporve your experience. By using our site, you consent to our cookie policy Learn more
arrow arrow_up breadcrumb-chevron-right breadcrumb-home dropdown-arrow-down loader GALogoWUNEP GALogo2018 GALogo2019 menu read-more-plus rrss-email rrss-facebook rrss-flickr rrss-instagram rrss-linkedin rrss-twitter rrss-vimeo rrss-youtube rrss_google_plus rrss_skype rrss_web pdf search share Completed In Process Ideas In Develpment Toogle Toogle Thumbnail View List View play close filter-collapse filter edit media_photo_library media_video_library graphics pictures videos collections next

Crafting an effective treaty on plastic pollution: Emerging fault lines in the intergovernmental negotiations

09 Nov 2022

On 2 March 2022, the United Nations Environment Assembly agreed to start intergovernmental negotiations to develop a legally binding instrument on plastic pollution. The idea of a bottom-up treaty that provides a loose, multilateral framework for countries to communicate their national-level policies, versus a top-down treaty that stipulates a common set of policies for all parties, is likely to become a major fault line in the upcoming negotiations for a treaty on plastic pollution.


The distinction between top-down and bottom-up is a recurring issue in discussions about multilateral treaty making. Simply put, “top-down” indicates that rules are adopted at the global level and then implemented at the national level, while “bottom-up” indicates that laws and policies are developed at the national level and then typically reported to the global level. Should the new treaty require all parties to adopt and implement a common set of control measures?


Or should the new treaty be a framework for parties to implement nationally determined control measures? This report examines the distinction between a bottom-up and a top-down approach to treaty-making, and argues that a plastic pollution treaty containing core provisions with specific and binding global rules and standards will likely address the problem of plastic pollution more effectively than a bottom-up treaty based solely on country-driven approaches.

Status: Completed

Type: Monograph

Author: GRID-Arendal

Year of publication: 2022

Place of publication: GRID-Arendal

Tags: plastics treaty

Read More

Related Sustainable Development Goals

GRID-Arendal's activities support the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).