Skip to main content

Introduction speech for the treaty on plastic waste

Paris, National Assembly on 24 May 2023

Our planet is polluted by plastics which contain chemicals that are seriously harmful to people and the environment.

Most plastics originate as fossil fuels and emit greenhouse gases throughout their life cycle. Plastics and the associated chemicals used in their production are pervasive in food chains, contaminating water, soil, and air, and releasing hazardous substances into the environment.

Recent scientific studies have found microplastics in human blood, lungs, and placenta, as well as in livestock feed and milk and meat products. Exposure to toxic chemicals often found in plastics can also affect future generations, impacting fertility, shortening gestation periods, and lowering birth weights.

The plastic crisis has disproportionate impacts on persons, groups and peoples in vulnerable situations such as children, women, Indigenous Peoples, coastal communities, people living in extreme poverty, surrounding communities affected by plastic production facilities, People of African Descent, workers at heightened risk of occupational exposure, including waste-pickers and people with certain medical conditions such as cardio-vascular disease, diabetes and immunosuppression, among others.

Read full speech

Latest Speeches and Communications

History, Memory and Justice for Roma people in Europe

High-level opening Panel: Holocaust of Sinti and Roma: What did Europe learn?

Opening remarks delivered by Elena Kountouri Tapiero, Acting Regional Representative for Europe, United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Regional Office for Europe

European Parliament Altiero Spinelli.

25 April 2023, 09:00 – 10:00 CET.

Read full speech

Keynote by Birgit Van Hout, UN Human Rights, Regional Representative for Europe

European Civic ForumCIVIC PRIDE AWARDS: Civic actors in times of crisisAward Ceremony

Read full speech

“Hate Speech trends in Eastern Europe” Statement by Birgit Van Hout, Regional Representative for Europe, Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

Addressing Hate Speech and Preventing Incitement to Violence in Europe Organized by Alice Wairimu Nderitu, UN Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide

Read full speech

Roundtable: Protecting the safety of journalists, media freedom and pluralism in the European Union

Opening address Birgit Van Hout Regional Representative for Europe

Read full speech