Find all post related to the activities of the YEE Office and Board.

Impacts of the European Climate Lawsuits | Webinar

Unpacking the recent ECtHR decisions on climate cases with Victorine Nagels and Theresa Amor-Juergenssen.

Practical information

  • When

    9th May 2024

  • Where

    Online

  • How

    Sign up

This webinar is part of the Legal Seeds project.

Share This Event

Why are we doing this

The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) recently delivered decisions on three different climate change-related cases. These were all lawsuits brought forward by citizens across Europe, who argued that states have not done enough to mitigate climate change and to protect their citizens.

By immersing ourselves in discussions on participation, human rights, and environmental protection, we aim to ensure that the voices of young people are integral in shaping policy recommendations, as well as to create a platform where your insights and contributions can drive tangible change, fostering a global community dedicated to environmental advocacy.

In this webinar, one month after the historic decisions, we will unpack the results of the three different climate lawsuits brought forward to the ECtHR:

Who will be speaking

The speakers for the event are Victorine Nagels (lawyer) and Theresa Amor-Juergenssen (legal advocacy deputy at WYCJ). These experienced speakers will analyse the ECtHR decisions and reflect on the significance that these have on States’ climate commitments. They will also analyse what are going to be the consequences of these judgements on climate action and litigation advanced by youth and on the rights of children, youth, and future generations.
 
, ,

Impacts of the European Climate Lawsuits | Webinar

Inside the European Parliament: Country Breakdown of Major Political Groups

Share

Good to know

During the elections, you are going to vote for a national party and usually, they are also going to be part of one of the major European groups with representatives from different countries.

Learn more about EU Groups in the European Parliament, their principles and ideology, and their view on the environmental issues!

What is the European Parliament

The European Parliament is composed of Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) who are organised into several political groups, each representing a spectrum of ideologies. These groups are not based on nationality but on political affiliation.

Here’s a brief overview of the major political groups:

  • EPP – Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats)
  • S&D – Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats
  • Renew Europe – Renew Europe Group
  • Greens/EFA – Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance
  • ID – Identity and Democracy Group
  • ECR – European Conservatives and Reformists Group
  • The Left – Confederal Group of the European United Left/Nordic Green Left
  • NI – Non-Inscrits” (Non-Attached Members)

Overview of the major groups in the European Parliament by country

Check out the national parties in the political groups of the European Parliament!

How to do that?

  1. Click on the country of your interest
  2. Click on the a political  group
  3. Discover the national parties*

* If you hover on the name, you can see their website to get more info

Check out the national parties in the political groups of the European Parliament!

How to do that?

  1. Click on the country of your interest
  2. Click on the a political  group
  3. Discover the national parties*

* If you hover on the name, you can see their website to get more info

,

Inside the European Parliament: Country Breakdown of Major Political Groups

Inside the European Parliament: A Closer Look at the Political Groups Shaping EU Legislation

Share

Good to know

During the elections, you are going to vote for your national party and usually, they are also going to be part of one of the major European groups with representatives from different countries.

Learn more about your national parties and their current position in the European parliament!

What is the European Parliament

The European Parliament (EP) is one of the legislative bodies of the European Union (EU) and one of its seven institutions. It works alongside the Council of the European Union (also known as the Council) to adopt European legislation, following proposals made by the European Commission.

The European Parliament is composed of Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) who are organized into several political groups, each representing a spectrum of ideologies. These groups are not based on nationality but on political affiliation.

Here’s a brief overview of the major political groups:

  • EPP – Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats)
  • S&D – Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats
  • Renew Europe – Renew Europe Group
  • Greens/EFA – Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance
  • ID – Identity and Democracy Group
  • ECR – European Conservatives and Reformists Group
  • The Left – Confederal Group of the European United Left/Nordic Green Left
  • NI – Non-Inscrits” (Non-Attached Members)

Each group has its own set of core principles and policies, and they work together to influence legislation and policy within the European Union.

Overview of the major political groups

The Group of the European People’s Party (EPP) is a political group in the European Parliament composed of center-right and Christian-democratic parties from across the EU. It is one of the biggest and most influential groups in the Parliament, with 182 seats as of 2019 and Manfred Welbeg as its president. Hence, it holds the presidency of the European Parliament.

The 44 group’s members come from various European countries and represent a diverse range of political ideologies within the center-right spectrum. The EPP promotes European integration and cooperation while prioritizing issues such as economic growth, security, and stability.

Overall ideology

The EPP advocates for conservative and center-right policies, focusing on economic liberalism, social conservatism, a strong European Union, and sustainable development as their main values.

What are their environmental convictions? 

The official EPP’s 2019 environmental vision called for a 50% reduction in emissions by 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2050, prioritizing ambitious climate targets. To encourage the reduction of emissions, they backed carbon pricing, emissions trading, and sustainable economic policies. Their main goals included developing a circular economy, sustainable agriculture, and the shift to clean energy. Global leadership in sustainability, social considerations, and green innovation were also highlighted. In general, the EPP aimed to strike a balance between economic prosperity and climate action, placing a strong emphasis on social responsibility, innovation, and collaboration when addressing environmental issues.

The Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D) represents the center-left. As a significant faction in the Parliament, it advocates for policies that focus on social justice, equality, and sustainability. With a focus on issues like workers’ rights, social protection, environmental sustainability, and inequality, the S&D group aims to promote a socially conscious Europe. Thus, social democratic, socialist, environmental, and labor parties from throughout the European Union are among their values. With Iratxe García Pérez as their president, the group’s members come from diverse national backgrounds and share a common goal of advancing policies to build a more equitable society.

Overall ideology

The S&D seeks to balance economic growth with social welfare, advocating for policies that protect vulnerable groups in society.

What are their environmental convictions? 

S&D advocates for immediate action to combat climate change and envisions comprehensive environmental values centered on the Green Deal. Sustainable policies were highlighted, such as investments in clean energy, support for agriculture, and restoration of the environment. Prioritising a just transition, S&D struck a balance between social equity, environmental protection, and job preservation. They supported laws that set aggressive goals for reducing emissions, such as the European Climate Law and the Nature Restoration Law. In addition, they put forth a zero-pollution plan and attempted to harmonise fisheries and agriculture policies with climate goals. In order to achieve a sustainable and socially just future, they placed a strong emphasis on social cohesion and worked to enact environmental regulations in conjunction with the European Pillar of Social Rights.

Renew Europe supports policies that emphasize individual freedoms, human rights, democracy, and the rule of law, alongside environmental sustainability and digital innovation. The group advocates for an open economy with fair competition, aiming for a balanced approach that fosters economic growth while ensuring social justice and protection for all citizens. Within the Parliament, it promotes a centrist agenda that aims to bridge the gap between the left and right. Renew Europe’s influence in discussions on EU governance includes areas such as the digital single market and climate change, advocating for reforms and regulation.

Overall ideology

The Renew Europe Group is a political group in the European Parliament representing a coalition of liberal, centrist, and pro-European parties from across the EU.

What are their environmental convictions? 

Renew Europe’s environmental agenda emphasizes fulfilling the objectives of the Paris Agreement and promoting the shift to a society that is climate neutral by 2050. They underlined that in order to mainstream environmental and climate objectives and expedite the ecological transition, coherence across all EU policies is essential. Innovation, environmentally friendly sectors, and international climate leadership were given top priority by Renew Europe. They demanded bold legislation to increase emission reduction targets, such as an updated European Green Deal and an efficient Climate Law. They also stressed the need to preserve the environment, move toward a circular economy, and guarantee the quality of the air and water. Renew Europe promoted innovation, sustainable production, and renewable energy while attempting to incorporate environmental goals into trade, agriculture, and fisheries policies.

The Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance (Greens/EFA) is composed of green, regionalist, and minority parties from across the European Union. This group, with its 74 seats in 2019, is known for advocating for environmental protection, climate action, and sustainability, pushing for policies to combat climate change and preserve biodiversity. The Greens/EFA prioritise stances on social issues, including human rights, gender equality, and social justice, reflecting a commitment to creating a more equitable and inclusive society, while also supporting a transition to renewable energy, sustainable transport, and a circular economy. The group emphasizes transparency, democracy, and civil liberties within the EU, advocating for citizen participation in European decision-making. Through its work in the European Parliament, the Greens/EFA seeks to influence EU policy and legislation towards sustainable and socially responsible directions.

Overall ideology

/

What are their environmental convictions? 

The Group’s environmental agenda aims to limit global warming to below 2 degrees. They advocate for increased renewable energy targets, simplifying administrative processes for renewable projects, and promoting electric vehicles while opposing liquefied natural gas in transport. They also call for the end of free emissions allowances, integrating aviation and shipping emissions into the Emissions Trading System, and implementing a Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism for imported goods. Additionally, they focus on addressing energy and transport poverty through the Social Climate Fund, supporting emissions reduction targets in forestry and land use, and advocating for stringent ecodesign requirements for vehicles, along with a ban on new petrol and diesel cars within the next decade.

Established in 2009, the ECR was founded on the principles of Eurorealism, advocating for EU reform, decentralization, and the respect of national sovereignty over deeper European integration. With its 62 seats, the group emphasizes free market economics, individual liberty, and reducing the power of the EU institutions in favor of giving more control back to member states. Accordingly, the ECR has advocated for the preservation of traditional values, stricter immigration laws, and a strong stance on law and order. The group actively engages in the legislative process to influence policies that align with its vision of a more flexible and decentralized European Union, despite its eurosceptic position.

Overall ideology

The European Conservatives and Reformists Group represents a political grouping of conservative, eurosceptic, and right-wing parties from across the European Union.

What are their environmental convictions? 

The European Conservatives and Reformists prioritise initiatives like the EU’s Emission Trading Scheme to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while safeguarding European industries. ECR-led efforts focus on improving air quality through cross-border collaboration and setting stringent emissions ceilings. They address the illegal wildlife trade by outlining challenges and proposing solutions. In fisheries, they advocate for sustainable practices balancing environmental protection, consumer demand, and the livelihoods of fishermen. ECR stresses the importance of science and technology in farming and fishing for sustainable resource management. They aim to protect the environment while ensuring economic prosperity and food security.

The Identity and Democracy (ID) Group in the European Parliament is composed of nationalist and eurosceptic parties from the European Union (EU). Established in June 2019, following the Europe of Nations and Freedom (ENF) group, ID consists of parties that focus on national sovereignty and express concerns about the EU’s approach to federalism. ID advocates for a model where EU member states cooperate on an intergovernmental basis and seeks a reevaluation of powers between the EU and its member states.

Overall ideology

ID represents a perspective in the European Parliament that prioritizes the interests and sovereignty of individual nations, aiming for a more decentralized EU structure. 

What are their environmental convictions? 

On their website, they remain silent.

Established in 1995, the group focuses on reforms in the EU related to social justice, workers’ rights, environmental sustainability, and wealth redistribution. GUE/NGL emphasizes peace, democracy, solidarity, sustainable development, and a transition towards renewable energy. With 41 seats in the Parliament, GUE/NGL participates in policy discussions, aiming to influence EU policies in the direction of social, economic, and environmental considerations.

Overall ideology

The Left group consists of left-wing, socialist, communist, and anti-capitalist parties from the European Union.

What are their environmental convictions? 

The Left emphasises environmental justice, advocating for nature conservation, protection of biodiversity, and strict regulation of toxic chemicals. They prioritise animal rights and welfare alongside sustainable agricultural and fisheries policies, emphasizing support for small communities. They scrutinise trade agreements like the EU-Chile AFA; they highlight concerns over environmental degradation, indigenous rights, and corporate interests. The Left currently calls for trade policies aligned with fairness, solidarity, and ecological integrity, rejecting deals favoring corporate profits over sustainability. They also focus on legislative efforts like the Nature Restoration Law, pushing for strong measures to restore ecosystems. They also address issues such as GMO authorisation and food price crises. They emphasize safety assessments, consumer choice, and fair pricing, advocating for policies benefiting both people and the planet.

Independent MEPs in the European Parliament, often referred to as non-attached members, are those who do not belong to any of the recognised political groups. They may choose to be independent for various reasons, such as differences in ideology or political strategy.

,

Inside the European Parliament: A Closer Look at the Political Groups Shaping EU Legislation

Dealing with Eco-Anxiety | Training of Trainers

We are looking for 20 participants who are interested in increasing their capacities to work on dealing with eco-anxiety in their organisation and environmental activism.

Practical information

  • When

    18th May to 24th May 2024

  • Where

    Prague, Czechia

  • Fee

    Fully funded

  • How

    Apply by 1st April 2024

Supported by the Council of Europe through the European Youth Foundation.

Share This Event

Why are we doing this

We’re embarking on this journey to empower youth workers to deal with eco-anxiety and focus on the crucial issue of the interrelation between mental health and climate change. Eco-anxiety especially affects young people, who worry about not being able to live in a clean, healthy and sustainable future. Many times this hinders their capacity to be involved in advocacy efforts, as the fear overwhelms them and results in isolation from their community.


Through non-formal education methods, we will equip the participants with knowledge on eco-anxiety and mental health impacts of climate change, enabling them to take meaningful action on these issues in their own communities. We will create a platform for discussions, knowledge-sharing, and active participation, empowering participants to collectively learn about this important topic.

This study session is for you if:

At the training, you will:

Have questions? Get in touch!

Other upcoming events

, ,

Dealing with Eco-Anxiety | Training of Trainers

Dive into action with UK Youth4Nature | Members’ Spotlight

Learn about UK Youth 4 Nature's Creative Campaigning for Biodiversity and Nature Conservation.

Written by

Contents

About UKY4N

UK Youth 4 Nature (UKY4N) is the leading UK youth movement calling for urgent action on the nature crisis, and they have been cherished members of YEE since 2022. UKY4N’s mission is to mobilise and empower young people to advocate for decisive action on biodiversity in the UK, emphasising the importance of protecting and restoring nature and wildlife to address the consequences and issues of climate change. March 14th marks the International Day of Action for Rivers, and we find this the perfect occasion to put the spotlight on UKY4N and its creative river projects.

 

Started in 2019 as a simple Whatsapp group with the mission of bringing nature into stronger focus within political discussions, UKY4N has rapidly evolved into an active organisation with a solid volunteer base all across the UK. The organisation has strategically focused its campaigning efforts on nature rather than climate issues and has today successfully positioned itself as a prominent advocate for biodiversity. We have met with co-director Ellen Bradley, to hear more about UKY4N’s creative campaigning and imaginative projects on rivers, hoping to inspire others to take action on this important topic!

Check out UKY4N

How can you help freshwater?

  • Support nature-friendly farmers, where possible buy organic, local food.

  • Banish pesticides and herbicides from your garden!

  • Celebrate freshwater ecosystems and raise awareness of the threats, share a photo on social media, tag UKY4N and use the hashtag #NotSoFreshwater

  • Research and learn more about the state of freshwater in the UK, sign up for the UKY4Ns newsletter to keep up to date with our campaign.

  • Join the team! UKY4N is always looking for new members to help fight for nature. Email UKY4N at ukyouthfornature@gmail.com to find out more.

Share this article

Making waves for freshwater conservation 

Freshwater ecosystems are the lifeblood of our planet. In the UK, around 3% of land is covered by freshwater and with an intricate network of 200,000 km of streams and rivers the freshwater ecosystems in the UK are of international importance. Thousands of lakes, ponds and ditches provide homes for diverse wildlife species, ranging from dragonflies to water voles. And yet, no rivers in England, Wales or Northern Ireland are considered to be in high ecological health, and in Scotland, as much as 92% of rivers do not meet these standards either. 

Recently, freshwater systems gained more media focus on regulating sewage and plastic pollution, advancing freshwater protection. However, agricultural pollution, affecting 40% of all freshwater bodies in England, remains overlooked. In addition to that, targets for cleaning up waterways, such as the goal set for 2027, have been pushed back to 2063, giving the protection of freshwater systems in the UK an urgency that cannot be ignored.

With the campaign Not so Freshwater, UKY4N launched an awareness campaign giving agricultural pollution a much-needed spotlight. The goal is to cut the use of pesticides in half by 2023 as well as restore field margins and riverside ecosystems to reduce field run-off. Ellen emphasises creative campaigning to facilitate positive change, celebrating sustainable farmers and advocating for political action.

On the 23rd of May 2023, UKY4N was able to host a successful event, summoning a variety of politicians and NGOs. The Chemical Cocktail Bar was one of the highlights of the event, which received a big positive response and even more importantly, political attention. The concept behind the Chemical Cocktail Bar is simple, creative and yet effective. Cocktails, named after UK rivers like the Mersey and Thames, the bar creatively highlighted freshwater pollution. Presented as beautifully designed cocktail recipes, these cards added a lively touch with real added proof of the urgency of freshwater pollution, proving that campaigning for political change does not have to be boring or dry. 

Beautifully designed recipe cards show the pollution of some of the biggest freshwater systems in the UK in a fun and engaging way.

The event successfully brought together young people and politicians in a positive atmosphere, fostering constructive discussions on environmental challenges, as Ellen tells us. UKY4N maintained a balance of fun and passion, ensuring engagement while addressing urgent issues facing our natural world.

UKY4N offers practical guidance for individuals to make a difference in preserving freshwater systems, including a five-step guide for reducing pollution. Additionally, they provide a template for a letter to your regional Member of Parliament to advocate for improved chemical standards and freshwater regulation. Later this year, UKY4N will host The Senedd, an event in Wales, allowing young people to engage with Welsh politicians on nature and freshwater issues.

With its campaign Not So Freshwater and a creative, positive and fun approach UKY4N inspires us to get involved in the movement for cleaner waterways and a more sustainable future. Let yourself be inspired too!

The UKY4N team during the event promoting the end of chemical pollution in freshwater systems in the UK (from left to right: Juliette Bone, Ellen Bradley, Lottie Trewick, Hannah Branwood, Joe Wilkins)

Crafting change with creative campaigning 

The fun and creative methods used in the Not So Freshwater project were not a one-off, but rather lie at the very heart of UKY4N’s approach to advocating for nature. Creative campaigning entails using creative and imaginative methods and employs artistic, cultural and interactive strategies to make an impact. Ellen tells us that the main goal of this approach is to get young people excited about an issue and encourage them to make a positive contribution, even if they are not experts on issues such as the environment, sustainability or politics. That way, different people can contribute in different ways, and that makes it more diverse and even more impactful! 

Another example of UKY4N’s bold creative campaigning was in their project Nature Loss: Lines in the Sand. On March 23, 2022, a 50-metre drawing depicting biodiversity in Britain was created on Scarborough Beach, featuring four biologically significant species that are declining. This symbolic act aimed to address the alarming depletion of nature in the UK, urging authorities to prioritise conservation efforts. Their creative ways received public recognition and an international audience, and if you look at the pictures of this impactful mural it is easy to understand why!

An overhead shot of the beautiful mural created by UKY4N on Scarborough beach.

UKY4N also regularly hosts workshops to introduce young people to creative campaigning, the next one to be held in Brighton on the 23rd of March 2024

In addition, UKY4N is currently dedicating their time to work relating to the general elections coming up in the UK this year. With the voting turnout among people in the age between 18 to 24-years in the UK in 2019 reaching 47% (compared to over 74% in the group of over 65-year olds), getting young people more enthusiastic and interested in the election is a crucial issue. As Ellen shares with us, only 50% of young people in the UK think they learn sufficiently about politics in school, so another focus of UKY4N lies on knowledge-sharing and capacity-building on the voting system. In order to be able to navigate the different and sometimes confusing party manifestos, UKY4N explains each programme from relevant political parties for everyone to understand. The main reason for that is to underline the importance of casting your vote to support certain policies and causes, as they so aptly put it on their website, “[n]ature cannot vote in elections. But many of us can!” With important elections coming up across Europe this year, not to mention the European Parliament elections, this is something many of us can keep in mind!

And with that being said, it is easy to see the problems that unite us. UKY4N is tackling the problems of the depletion of nature in the UK, but we are seeing similar problems worldwide. Although freshwater ecosystems are so important to nature and human well-being, they are also the most threatened in the world. Since 1970 freshwater species have experienced an 83% decline – twice the rate experienced within terrestrial or marine sources. Let us therefore stand united on this International Day of Action for Rivers, and reflect on the importance each and every one of our actions plays in the protection of our water systems!

More about Biodiversity

Learn about the risks for ecosystems posed by climate change identified in the EEA’s Climate Risk Assessment.

Read More

The CMS recently published a first of its kind report on the state of the world’s migratory species. This landmark report shows

Read More

Learn about UK Youth 4 Nature’s Creative Campaigning for Biodiversity and Nature Conservation.

Read More

Did you know that only a small number of rivers on our planet remain untouched by human influence? The recently designated Vjosa

Read More
, , ,

Dive into action with UK Youth4Nature | Members’ Spotlight

Right to Healthy Environment | Study session

We are looking for organisations and youth activists interested in increasing their capacities to work on the  access to environmental rights of young people

Practical information

  • When

    26th May to 2nd June 2024

  • Where

    European Youth Center Budapest, Hungary

  • Fees

    50 EUR participation fee (deductable)

  • How

    Apply by 24th March 2024

This study session is organised in cooperation with the Council of Europe.

Share This Event

Why are we doing this

We’re embarking on this journey to amplify the youth perspective and influence within the Council of Europe while focusing on the crucial issue of the Right to a Healthy Environment recommendation.

By immersing ourselves in discussions on participation, human rights, and environmental protection, we aim to ensure that the voices of young people are integral in shaping policy recommendations, as well as to create a platform where your insights and contributions can drive tangible change, fostering a global community dedicated to environmental advocacy.

This study session is for you if:

At the study session, you will:

Have questions? Get in touch!

Other upcoming events

, ,

Right to Healthy Environment | Study session

EU Marine Action Plan

YEE Calls for Ambitious National Roadmaps for EU Marine Action Plan Implementation, including a ban on bottom trawling in MPAs

More than a year since the EU Marine Action Plan was adopted, there is a critical need to ensure that both the European Commission and Member States are held accountable for its effective implementation. The success or failure of this initiative will hinge upon the national roadmaps to be submitted by each Member State by the end of March. The publication of these national roadmaps will be closely monitored, especially considering the tendency of Member State governments to oppose ocean protection matters, often favouring economic interests over environmental ones. This also became evident in the disappointing response of the European Parliament (EP) to the Communication, which rejected the majority of its content. 

 

Youth and Environment Europe strongly supports the gradual phasing out of bottom trawling in all marine protected areas (MPAs) by 2030 as proposed in the Marine Action Plan. This would be in line with an agreement made between 196 countries, including the EU, during the Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (COP15) to reach a 30% target of protected land and oceans by 2030 in a landmark agreement for the protection of biodiversity. The method of bottom trawling is notorious for its detrimental impact on marine ecosystems due to several reasons, one of which is significant by-catch, such as marine mammals, seabirds, and other fish species. Bottom trawling can also cause extensive damage to sensitive habitats, disrupting the balance of marine ecosystems and damaging biodiversity. Not least because of the use of bottom trawling, European seas are in a severe environmental crisis. The European Environment Agency recently reported that “almost all marine species groups appear to be in bad condition throughout Europe’s seas, with mixed recovery trends”.

 

The Parliament had a chance to advocate strongly for ocean conservation shortly before the elections and urge the EU Member States to align its fisheries with nature protection policies. They missed this opportunity: Their report on the Marine Action Plan takes a concerning stance towards the use of harmful fishing equipment, suggesting to continue using bottom trawling within MPAs. The European People’s Party (EPP) holds the view that the proposed ban of bottom trawling in MPAs puts the future of fishermen at risk, labelling the Action Plan “discriminatory”. While coastal communities and the impact of the Marine Action Plan on fishers must not be ignored, YEE believes that this pure focus on the economic impact is too short-sighted. The livelihoods of coastal communities ultimately depend on seas with good environmental status and healthy fish stocks, which can simply not be reconciled with the practice of bottom trawling in MPAs. We need cross-cutting and forward-thinking policymaking to address economic concerns in the fisheries sector alongside the climate and nature crises, including support  to fishers in transitioning away from destructive fishing gear to minimise negative socio-economic effects.

 

As Youth Environment Europe, we call upon all EU Member States to commit promptly and effectively to implementation of the Marine Action Plan, and urge the Commission to conduct and publicly release science-based assessments of their national roadmaps. Furthermore, we demand that any identified weaknesses be addressed by Member States, and call for close monitoring and enforcement to ensure their timely implementation. Only through concerted effort and accountability can meaningful progress be made towards safeguarding our marine environment for future generations.

Help us spread the word! Share this statement

, , ,

EU Marine Action Plan

What are countries doing about plastic pollution?

A reflection of a INC-3 youth delegate.

Shellan, a Youth4Ocean Forum member and INC-3 observer, reflects on the challenges facing the UN Plastic Pollution Treaty, which aims to be completed by the end of 2024.

Written by

Disclaimer

The views and opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of YEE.

Contents

Visual summary

Share this article

The “Nairobi Spirit”

At the United Nations Environmental Assembly (UNEA 5, 2022) at the UNEP headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya Resolution 5/14 entitled “End plastic pollution: Towards an international legally binding instrument” was passed to start the process of the plastic pollution treaty.

This historic moment marked the beginning of what several major news organisations have called the most important environmental deal in all fields since the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement. This paved the way for the establishment of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee on Plastic Pollution (INC) to develop “the instrument”, which is to be based on a comprehensive approach that addresses the full life cycle of plastic, including its production, design, and disposal” (UNEP) (See timeline below).

Five rounds of negotiations (INC) have been proposed for countries to come to an agreement and close negotiations by the end of 2024. This treaty will be the first-ever global agreement on addressing plastic pollution and aims to tackle the full life-cycle of plastic.

Plastics are currently one of the last unregulated industries contributing to the climate crisis and increased carbon emissions. Currently, 430 million metric tons of plastics are produced every year and without intervention, this could triple by 2060. The majority of plastic is neither recycled nor reused (UNDP).  It follows that a plastics treaty is not only necessary for human health but also for future generations. This statistic was emphasized in the most recent negotiations (INC-3) in Nairobi, Kenya in November 2023.

Timeline of the INC Process

Jun 2023
Apr 2024
Dec 2022
Nov 2023
Nov 2024

The third round (INC-3) was held from 13 to 19 November 2023 at the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya. After countries voted to create a Zero Draft at INC-2. The Zero Draft was a collection of ideas and views from member states submitted during the international negotiations in INC-2. The draft was released during the inter-sessional period between INC-2 and INC-3, when countries began negotiating the Zero Draft version of the treaty. During a preparatory meeting for INC-3 on November 11th,  Iran announced a low-ambition coalition with other gas-driven countries called the Global Coalition for Plastics Sustainability. There was very little to no mention of the coalition during the rest of the negotiations. Countries negotiated a specific text in three smaller groups called contact groups. Each group debated the following parts of the treaty:

Contact group 1: Part I and Part II of the Zero Draft

Contact group 2: Part III and IV

Contact group 3: Addressed elements not previously covered at previous INCs including principles, scope, and definitions.

While negotiations progressed throughout the week, the “Nairobi Spirit” died at the very last minute late on the last night of negotiations after contact group 3 could not come to a consensus on important intersessional work due to be completed between INC-3 and INC-4. Low-ambitious countries successfully used stalling tactics to threaten an ambitious treaty being drafted by the end of 2024 and aimed to be in place by 2025. While countries are eager to work and close negotiations by the end of 2024, there appear to be a lot of ideas for the treaty which are ultimately hindering progress.

More ideas than agreements after INC-3

The negotiations ended with more ideas than conclusions. During INC-3 the secretariat received over five hundred submissions from member states on the treaty. Due to the number of submissions at one point, some member states were arguing that their voices and inputs were not being heard. This led to threats by some states to quit negotiations.

The result was a revised draft expanded from thirty-one pages released after INC-2 to 71 pages. Some sections such as the scope have sixteen different options on text while several other options have four or more options. This was instead of a first draft that was expected after INC-3, a revised zero draft was released on December 26, 2023.

Low-ambitious, gas-driven countries such as Iran, Russia, and Saudi Arabia are arguing for a treaty focused on recycling, waste management and voluntary action, while other countries that are part of the High Ambition Coalition to End Plastic Pollution, co-chaired by Norway and Rwanda, are arguing for a treaty that focuses on global mandates by aiming at reducing plastic and targeting the full lifecycle of plastics. Along with more ideas, the lack of an agreement on intersessional work resulted in more setbacks.

The consequences of a lack of consensus

The initial timeline proposed important inter-sessional work which, as agreed at INC-2, should have happened between INC-3 and INC-4. This intersessional work was supposed to bring in experts on different technical and scientific topics related to plastics, finance, and implementation issues. Many of these topics would help delegates have a better understanding of what they are discussing and negotiating as well as different perspectives to fill in knowledge gaps. 

This would have helped advance negotiations further at the upcoming INCs. At the last minute, the United States tried to reopen negotiations with Brazil agreeing to try to come to a consensus on work for the inter-sessional period (months between INC-3 and INC-4), but Russia and Saudi Arabia struck down the idea. After hearing member states’ opinions, the Chair decided not to reopen negotiations delaying hopes of progress towards an ambitious plastic reduction treaty.

An ambitious treaty threatened by lobbyists

As countries argue the direction of the treaty, several issues externally and internally towards an ambitious treaty remain. The treaty has gained attention from the fossil fuel and chemical industry. According to the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL), “143 fossil fuel and chemical industry lobbyists have registered to attend the third session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC-3) to advance a global plastics treaty, gaining access to the negotiations at a time when the talks are entering a critical phase”. The article goes on to say this is a 36% increase from previous INCs.

The fossil fuel and chemical industry lobbyists outnumbered the scientist coalition by over 100 people and 70 of the smallest member state delegations, and they will likely increase in the coming INCs. One of the potential solutions to preventing fossil fuel and chemical lobbyists from interfering with the negotiations would be to pass a Conflict of Interest Policy in the upcoming United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-6) or future meetings related to the plastics treaty such as the future Conference of Parties (COP). A Conflict of Interest Policy has been requested by several observers. By passing this policy it could prevent a weak treaty.

Lack of representation in the treaty

The treaty continues to lack representation from key groups impacted by plastics and the effects of plastic pollution in the revised Zero Draft text: its seventy-one pages only mention “Indigenous” twenty-eight times, while “youth” and “children” combined are only mentioned ten times. Other vulnerable groups such as women, waste pickers, and workers in plastic value chains are even mentioned less. There are several vulnerable groups not yet mentioned in the treaty such as the disabled (physically and visually-impaired), people of color, and displaced people. Also, the term vulnerable populations/groups remain undefined. This could cause problems during the implementation of the treaty, leaving certain groups at risk of the effects of plastic pollution and unable to benefit from the treaty. 

Final thoughts and looking ahead

The UN Plastic Pollution Treaty faces an uphill battle to be completed by the end of 2024. It is still unknown if the treaty will focus more on waste management and recycling or reduction. Several important groups remain voiceless in a treaty critical for their health and livelihoods. The next two INCs are scheduled to be INC 4 in Ottawa, Canada in April and INC 5 in Busan, South Korea in November.

Many key elements of the treaty such as scope, definitions, and principles remain undecided, which will add to the additional challenge of cutting text and cementing a clearer direction the treaty will take. This will make it more challenging for member states to complete the negotiations by the end of 2024. If the treaty stays on schedule, the Diplomatic Conference will be held in 2025 to adopt it and for member states to sign. This would also be when a governing body will be established for future Conference of Parties (COP) to be held on the treaty.

INC-4 will be critical for countries to decide the direction the treaty will take. The secretariat will provide an update in February UNEA-6 on the status of the treaty. While history has shown it is not impossible, it is going to require total focus and compromises from member states to achieve a historic plastics treaty by the end of 2024.

More articles

The war in Ukraine has highlighted the significance of energy policy as a major power issue. It is an opportunity to break

Read More

In this article, we will delve into the exciting world of hydrogen as a potential solution for energy storage, aiming to overcome

Read More
European Energy Sector

Learn about the positive and negative outcomes of the liberalisation process, and how energy communities could play a major role in the

Read More
the relation between the country and coal in the context of the climate and energy crises

Germany is particularly vulnerable to disruptions in the global fossil fuel supply chain. Can coal be considered a temporary solution to the

Read More
, , ,

What are countries doing about plastic pollution?

Call for Finance Manager

to lead our Finance team.

40 h/ week

2800 EUR/month

EU/EUrope

Remote possible

Start 1st April 2024

YEE is seeking a Finance Manager

YEE is excited to announce the opening of a full-time Finance Manager (40 hours/week) from April 2024 to April 2025 (potential extension) to lead our Finance team.

Responsibilities include budgeting and financial planning, grant management, expense management, and team management. The selected candidate must have language proficiency in English (Czech language is a plus). Ideal candidates have experience in budgeting, grant management, nonprofit accounting, and strong communication skills.

Remuneration is 2 800 EUR/month gross salary.

Your responsibilities

  • Develop, implement, and monitor annual budgets. Prepare forecasts and financial budgets to guide organisational decision-making.
  • Prepare accurate and timely financial reports, including income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements. Present financial information to the Coordination team and the Board, offering insights and recommendations for strategic planning.
  • Monitor grant budgeting and reporting processes to ensure compliance with funder requirements. Work closely with project managers and department managers to align financial activities with project goals and objectives.
  • Monitor organisational expenditures and implement cost-saving strategies.  Review and approve expenses, ensuring transparency and consistency to budget and organisational policies
  • Coordinate audits and assist in the preparation of audit materials.
  • Meet with the funders on a regular basis to update them on the financial progress.

Cash Flow Management: Manage cash flow and liquidity to ensure the organisation’s financial stability.

Tax Compliance: Ensure compliance with tax regulations.. Stay updated on tax laws and regulations.

Team Leadership and Development: Lead the finance team, providing guidance, support, and professional development opportunities. 

Collaboration and Communication: Work collaboratively with departments to achieve organisational goals, promoting financial literacy and transparency across the organisation.

Leading the travel arrangements such buying tickets, booking accommodations and reimbursements when required. 

Apply now

Candidates we are looking for

,

Call for Finance Manager | Full-time Opportunities

Call for Finance Coordinator

to join our Finance team.

20 h/ week

26k CZK/month

Prague, CZ

Onsite

Start 1st April 2024

YEE is seeking a Finance Coordinator

YEE is excited to announce the opening of a part-time Finance Coordinator (20 hours/week) from April 2024 to April 2025 (potential extension) to join our Finance team.

Responsibilities include financial reporting, grant management, budget monitoring, and data management. The selected candidate must have language proficiency in English and Czech. Ideal candidates have experience in budgeting, grant management, nonprofit accounting, and strong communication skills.

Remuneration is 26 000 CZK/month gross salary.

Your responsibilities

  • Prepare accurate and timely financial reports, including income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements. Present financial information to the Coordination team and the Board, offering insights and recommendations for strategic planning.
  • Monitor grant budgeting and reporting processes to ensure compliance with funder requirements. Work closely with project managers and department managers to align financial activities with project goals and objectives.
  • Monitor budget vs. actual performance for various projects and programs. Identify variances and communicate findings to the Finance Manager
  • Organise and archive financial documents, reports, and supporting documentation for audit and compliance purposes.
  • Assisting in ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements, organisational policies, and grant agreements. Supporting internal and external audits by providing requested documentation and explanations as needed.
  • Assisting the financial manager with the travel arrangements such buying tickets, booking accommodations and reimbursements when required.

Apply now

Candidates we are looking for

Call for Finance Coordinator | Part-time Opportunities