Establishment of the ISC expert group on plastic pollution

The International Science Council is pleased to announce the formation of its expert group on plastic pollution. This marks an important step towards ensuring that science plays a pivotal role in advancing the ongoing development of an internationally binding instrument to address plastic pollution.

The Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) was established following a resolution passed during the UN Environment Assembly in March 2022 to respond to the escalating global crisis of plastic pollution. Since early 2022, the INC has held negotiations to develop an international legally binding instrument to combat plastic pollution at every stage of its life cycle, covering production, consumption, and disposal. These negotiations aim to establish a comprehensive approach that addresses the environmental, social, and economic impacts of plastic pollution. Three INC sessions have been held so far, in November 2022, May 2023, and November 2023.

The ISC has been committed to supporting the INC process by advocating for the indispensable role of science in informing evidence-based policy decisions. Leveraging its network of scientific experts and resources, the ISC has actively engaged in various capacities to ensure that the voice of science is heard throughout the treaty negotiation.

Through consultations with experts across diverse scientific disciplines, the ISC has facilitated the exchange of research, insights, and perspectives essential for informing the development of the treaty. The ISC also recently released a policy brief advocating for the integration of scientific inputs into the negotiation process. To achieve this goal, the ISC is calling for the creation of a robust science-policy-society interface mechanism and the establishment of a formalized scientific platform under the INC Secretariat to foster an informed and inclusive approach to the many facets of plastic pollution across the globe.

ISC policy brief: A call for a formal scientific voice in the global fight against plastic pollution

In preparation for the third session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee, the ISC released a Policy Brief calling for the urgent establishment of a robust science-policy-society interface to tackle the persistent and long-term issue of global plastic pollution.

colourful plastic detritus on a beach

The ISC at the Second Session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee on Plastic Pollution

From 29 May to 2 June 2023, negotiators came together at the second meeting of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee to develop an international legally binding instrument on plastic pollution, including in the marine environment (INC-2).

Plastic pollution beach

Negotiations on ending global plastic pollution must be informed by scientific assessment

In November 2022, representatives of the scientific community called for a prominent role for scientific evidence and monitoring at the first in a series of meetings on the creation of a legally binding treaty on ending plastic pollution.

As the negotiations progress with the fourth session of INC to be held in April 2024, the ISC has established an expert group on plastic pollution following a call for nomination to ISC Members. This group, comprising experts from diverse disciplines, will aim to advance the role of robust, independent, and multidisciplinary science in the INC process.

The main objectives of the expert group is to support the development of a science-based instrument to address plastic pollution comprehensively and advocate for the establishment of a science-policy mechanism for implementing and further developing treaty commitments. The experts will also facilitate the exchange of information from the INC process with ISC members and the broader science and policy-making community.

The ISC expert group

Margaret Spring, Chair

Chief Conservation and Science Officer, Monterey Bay Aquarium

Chair of US NAS Committee on the US Contributions to Global Ocean Plastic Waste

Ramia Al Bakain

Professor of Analytical and Environmental Chemistry, The University of Jordan

Member of the Global Young Academy

ISC Fellow

Stefano Aliani

Science Director, Institute of Marine Science of the National Research Council of Italy

Vice-President and Senior Scientist at the Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research (SCOR)

Kishore Boodhoo

Associate Professor of Chemistry, University of Mauritius

Ilaria Corsi

Associate Professor of Ecology, University of Siena

Co-chair of the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) Plastic Action Group

Judith Gobin

Head of the Department of Life Sciences and Professor of Marine Biology, University of the West Indies

Ex-officio member of the Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research (SCOR) Executive Committee

Alex Godoy

Associate Professor and Director of the Sustainability Research Centre, Universidad del Desarrollo

Member of the Global Young Academy

Anne Kahru

Lead of the Laboratory of Environmental Toxicology, Estonian National Institute of Chemical Physics and Biophysics

Fellow of the Estonian Academy of Sciences

Christine Luscombe

Professor and Chair of the Faculty, Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology

Member and Past President of the Polymer Division of International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC)

Sarva Mangala Praveena

Associate Professor at the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Putra Malaysia

Adetoun Mustapha

Adjunct Researcher at the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research, Lead City University

Noreen O’Meara

Associate Professor of Human Rights, European and Environmental Law, University of Surrey

Co-director at the Surrey Centre for International and Environmental Law (SCIEL).

Fani Sakellariadou

Professor of Maritime Studies, University of Piraeus

Member and Vice President of Chemistry and Environment of the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC)

Patrick Schröder

Senior Research Fellow at the Environment and Society Centre, Chatham House

Peng Wang

Professor at the Institute of Urban Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences


Anda Popovici

Science Officer, International Science Council

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