28 Feb 2019 - Finds that if the scale of commitments continues to rise in a similar manner to 2016-2018 and funding is secured, there will be a positive trend towards reductions in marine litter by 2025 in some areas.
- In advance of UNEA-4, UNEP released an analysis of voluntary commitments targeting marine litter and microplastics.
- The analysis highlights the scaling up of stakeholder engagement and innovation and the increase in the number of voluntary commitments with the potential to significantly improve plastic removal and reduce leakage into coastal and marine environments.
The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) has shared a report analyzing voluntary commitments made in support of SDG 14 (life below water) and efforts to address marine litter and microplastics. The report is one of several that UNEP has released in advance of the fourth session of the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA-4).
The report titled, ‘Analysis of Voluntary Commitments Targeting Marine Litter and Microplastics Pursuant to Resolution 3/7’ (UNEP/EA.4/11), analyzes commitments in the context of the UN Conference to Support the Implementation of SDG 14, the Our Ocean Conference, the UN Sustainable Development Platform, the Clean Seas campaign and the Environment Assembly portal for voluntary reporting relating to marine litter. The commitments analyzed focus on two tracks: targeted interventions that specifically address marine litter and microplastics, such as improved management of land-based waste; and system-wide actions to help shift the economy away from plastics and fossil fuel use towards a circular economy of reuse, remanufacturing and recycling of plastics, such as behavioral change and societal transformation.
The analysis finds that the main difference in 2018 commitments is the scaling up of stakeholder engagement and innovation and the increase in the number of voluntary commitments with the potential to significantly improve plastic removal and reduce leakage into coastal and marine environments. The analysis finds that governments “remain at the forefront” of activities to reduce marine litter and debris and tackle plastics in the ocean, although the role of civil society and foundations is growing. In comparison to 2017, there has been a greater emphasis in voluntary commitments on addressing marine plastics, including microbeads, at the source, through their removal from the supply chain, changing packaging and sourcing alternatives.
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