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FAO and the international legally binding instrument on plastic pollution: The role of plastics used in agriculture

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The use of plastics in agrifood value chains is pervasive. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) estimates that every year 12.5 million tonnes of plastic products are used in plant and animal production. The crop production and livestock sectors are the largest users, accounting for 10 million tonnes per year, followed by fisheries and aquaculture with 2.1 million tonnes, and forestry with 0.2 million tonnes . The benefits of using plastics in agriculture include increased yields and production efficiency alongside reduced food loss and waste, however their use incurs high environmental, economic and social costs, primarily from increased pollution. The 2021 FAO’s Assessment of agricultural plastics and their sustainability Report included a call for global action for improved inter-sectoral collaboration and governance to address the issues of plastic use throughout agrifood systems.
FAO in Geneva, in close collaboration with the FAO Office of Climate Change, Biodiversity and Environment in Rome (OCB), is organizing a hybrid informal briefing for Permanent Missions in Geneva to share information with FAO Members and exchange views on:
• FAO’s ongoing work on the management of plastics for agricultural use and their alternatives.
• Update on the ongoing deliberations of the intergovernmental negotiating committee (INC) on plastic pollution to develop an international legally binding instrument on plastic pollution, in relation to agriculture.
• Best practices on policies for improved sustainability for plastics used in agriculture at national level.

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