Within the framework of its EU-funded Marine Litter MED Project, UNEP/MAP-Barcelona Convention has brought together major actors in combatting marine litter and its adverse effects, in the Mediterranean region, in a roundtable on “Enhancing Regional Coordination on Marine Litter in the Mediterranean”.
Organized in Athens, Greece, on 6 September 2016, the discussions involved 19 regional and sub-regional actors representing different sectors including academia, policy-making, industry, fisheries, research institutions, and NGOs, significantly contributing to marine litter management. They all expressed their interest to participate and contribute to strengthen the partnership on marine litter in the region and establish a Regional Cooperation Platform on Marine Litter in the Mediterranean.
The Platform will be implemented through the establishment, on a voluntary basis, of an open-ended group of regional and international partners with mandates and activities contributing to the environmentally sound management of marine litter in the Mediterranean. It will be instrumental in providing coordinated support and guidance to the implementation of the Plan. Being a forum for consultation, exchange of good practices, and solutions seeking, it will constitute an opportunity for its members to supportively and complementarily provide concrete contributions and inputs to the implementation of the Regional Plan on Marine Litter Management.
The roundtable has identified a number of priority activities for the platform to work on, with special focus on reviewing and completing the list of existing guidelines on marine litter management, supporting the implementation of marine litter monitoring programmes, promoting the UNEP/GPA on-line course on marine litter, ensuring large participation in a common clean-up campaign in 2017, and demonstrating the Regional Cooperation Platform as a tool to enhance marine litter regional governance.
The roundtable comes in the aftermath of a successful regional meeting held in Tirana in July 2016 with the aim to further enhance the implementation of the Regional Plan on Marine Litter Management in the Mediterranean. It is also one of many activities being implemented in the region with the ultimate objectives to strengthen the regional governance on marine litter and facilitate the implementation of the Regional Plan, with the view to maximize results. All these elements come as high priorities in the UNEP/MAP Mid-Term Strategy (MTS 2016-2021) and Programme of Work (PoW 2016-2017) to protect the marine and coastal environment and to promote sustainable development.