At the end of 2022, the first Inter-Governmental Negotiating Committee meeting (INC-1) to develop a binding UN treaty (instrument) to end plastic pollution took place in Punta del Este, Uruguay. The meeting brought together delegates from over 160 countries, joined by hundreds of observers from stakeholder and civil society groups.
Dr Patrick O'Hare has worked with wastepickers for over a decade and his recent research has focused on social and circular economy initiatives in the plastics industry. In this presentation, Patrick will talk about his experiences at the INC-1, where he served as an advisor to the delegation of the International Alliance of Wastepickers (IAW), as well as a member of the Scientists Network for an Effective Plastics Treaty (SNEPT), roles that placed him at the interface of policy, research, and advocacy. Patrick will explain the key issues at stake in the UN plastics pollution treaty, the way that the treaty process is organized, and how academics can influence such international environmental policies. The presentation will have a broader relevance for researchers working beyond plastics, since Patrick recently spearheaded a successful application for the University of St Andrews to become the first UK university accredited with the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), allowing its researchers to register for and submit evidence to relevant UNEP conferences and meetings.
Dr Patrick O'Hare FRSA is a UKRI Future Leaders Fellow (FLF) and Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Social Anthropology at the University of St Andrews. His research interests centre on recycling economies in Latin America and include the themes of labour, waste, recycling, infrastructure, and plastics. He has conducted research in Mexico, Uruguay, Argentina, and the UK. Patrick's current UKRI-funded research project is entitled ‘Transforming Plastics into Solidarity: Ethical Vertical Integration and Binational Recycling' and centres on intersections between social and circular economies in the Uruguayan plastics industry.
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