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UN-Habitat, Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA)

Leaving no one behind - How a global instrument to end plastic pollution can enable a just transition for the people informally collecting and recovering waste

This report provides an overview on the importance of the Informal Waste and Recovery Sector (IWRS) for ending plastic pollution. It outlines how the current negotiations towards a global instrument to end plastic pollution can leverage a just transition of the IWRS. It calls for the just transition of the IWRS to be fair, inclusive, and equitable, generating and preserving decent work opportunities in a way that leaves no one behind. This involves enabling IWRS workers to pursue their livelihoods in a dignified manner, by their choice either inside or outside of the sector and involving stakeholders impacted by the transition in the development and implementation process. Key elements of a just transition of the IWRS include official and legislative recognition, protection of human and labour rights, access to social services and health schemes, and fair payment for work for all IWRS stakeholders. These are key considerations to bring to the first meeting of the INC but are also basic elements of promoting a just transition in local and national policies that aim to formalize and integrate informal waste and recovery workers as part of strategies to end plastic pollution.