Local & Subnational governments’ voice in international negotiations to end plastic pollution

The local and subnational governments coalition to end plastic pollution was officially launched on 22 April 2024, and spent INC4 building momentum for the recognition of local and subnational governments’ role, and their inclusion in the future international legally binding instrument on plastic pollution.


The fourth session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC4) was held in Ottawa, Canada, from April 23rd to April 29th, and brought together UN Member States and interested and motivated stakeholders from around the world to continue negotiations towards an international legally binding instrument to end plastic pollution.

In advance of the official start of INC4, the Local and Subnational Governments Coalition was officially launched at Partnerships Day, hosted by Canada and WWF.

The Coalition is convened under the leadership of ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, Government of Catalonia, Government of Québec and UCLG, with the support of many partners including: Global Cities Hub; Regions4; C40; WWF; and in collaboration with UN-Habitat and UNEP.  It aims to ensure that this new plastics treaty adequately recognizes the vital role of local and subnational governments in mitigating and managing plastic pollution.

At INC4, Coalition members spent time engaging with negotiators and delegates to hear their perspectives and share wording recommendations that the Members could take forward in their negotiations. Through these discussions, the Coalition reinforced the many ways that local and subnational governments contribute to waste management, public health, environmental protection, social development and livelihood support, amongst others. These perspectives were well received by many at the event, with new signatories and supporting partners voicing interest to join the Coalition.

The Coalition delivered an intervention in the opening plenary. On behalf of the Coalition, Paul Currie, ICLEI, urged Members to expand the reference, and ultimately the responsibility, of local and subnational governments in the instrument, and offered the Coalition’s support where needed.

The Coalition was also present in two of the three official side events, reinforcing that there is agreement on the need for whole of government collaboration in this effort. Ignasi Mateo, from the Catalan Waste Agency, Medwaves, remarked in his panel that “we need to be brave; we need to focus on single use plastic not on alternative materials,” and “When we use the term circular economy, we must understand that it is more than waste management – We need new business models such as reduce, which will shift us to new economic models. Local and subnational governments are pivotal to this type of work.”

In UNEP’s panel on Approaches to Capacity Building, Financing, and Financial Mechanisms, Jean Lemire, Quebec’s Envoy for Climate Change and Nordic and Artic Issues, remarked that “We, as subnational governments, have knowledge and resources to offer this process, and so it is clear that we need to be around the table”

Many Members emphasized the importance of observers being part of this process and the equal value of inputs from all present in this process.

Between INC4 and INC5 the Coalition will examine the next draft of the future international instrument  and provide recommendations to Members on how the instrument can further emphasize the importance of multilevel and subnational and local government contributions and in plastic pollution.

See the full Coalition Statement here.

Join as a partner or signatory of this Coalition Statement by filling the forms here.


Authored by Local and Subnational Governments Coalition to end plastics pollution, ICLEI World Secretariat, ICLEI Africa, the Governments of Quebec, and Catalonia, and United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG).

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