Law School lecturer will pioneer plastics treaty to safeguard future generations

Head and shoulders of Dr Alexandra R. Harrington

A Lancaster University law lecturer is set to lead a global team in developing a Plastics Treaty - a critical strategy for current and future generations.

Dr Alexandra R. Harrington, a Lecturer in Environment Law at Lancaster University Law School, has been selected to serve as Chair of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Task Force on Plastic Pollution.

In this capacity, she will lead a global team of legal academics and practitioners in providing guidance to countries, regions and civil society for the process of negotiating the Plastics Treaty recently called for by the United Nations’ Environment Assembly.

The Plastics Treaty negotiation process will begin in late November 2022 in Uruguay and will run until the end of 2024, the target goal for completion of a full treaty.

The issue of plastic pollution has assumed increasing importance for the health and environment of the global community, with experts noting that, at current levels, the amount of plastics in the oceans will be near the number of fish in the future.

Dr Harrington says: "It is a great privilege to be selected as the Chair of Task Force and to have the opportunity to work on the development of such a critical treaty for current and future generations, including those in developing regions and small island developing states.

“To be able to bridge academic knowledge and practical implementation in this setting is very important for me and demonstrates the value of Lancaster University's focus on learning tools for inside and outside the classroom."

At Lancaster University, Dr Harrington teaches in the fields of international and national environmental law, public international law, and international human rights law. She is also a specialist in climate law and sustainable development law.

She supervises post-graduate student dissertations on related subjects and is the author of several monographs as well as more than 50 articles and book chapters.

Founded in 1948, the IUCN is an international organization working in the field of nature conservation and sustainable use of natural resources. It is involved in data gathering and analysis, research, field projects, advocacy, and education.

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