Forum on the Multi-stakeholder Platform on Marine Litter and Microplastics

DATE: Tuesday 13 July 2021

TIME: 12:00 - 16:00 EAT / 11:00-15:00 CEST  - Check your timezone

ORGANIZER: The Ministry of the Environment Japan (MoEJ) with technical and logistical support of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)

This forum is intended to explore immediate and concrete multi-stakeholder activities on marine plastic litter and microplastics, enable subject-specific discussions, enhance multi-stakeholder collaboration, coordinate existing initiatives and create further actions. 

At this occasion, the International Resource Panel will also launch its think piece Policy Options to Eliminate Additional Marine Plastic Litter by 2050 under the Osaka Blue Ocean Vision. The think piece was commissioned by the G20 under the presidency of Japan, to qualitatively consider possible policy options to achieve the Osaka Blue Ocean Vision, which voluntarily commits G20 countries to “reduce additional pollution by marine plastic litter to zero by 2050 through a comprehensive life-cycle approach",

Provisional agenda

Session 1: Opening (6 min)

Session 2: Sharing progress (30 min)

  • Report from AHEG (5 min)

  • Stocktaking of activities and actions on the Global Partnership on Marine Litter (GPML) Digital platform since its establishment (UNEP) (10 min)

  • Mapping of international/regional coordination and cooperation (UNEP) (5 min)

  • Launch of the IRP think piece on the “Policy options to eliminate additional marine plastic litter by 2050 under the G20 Osaka Blue Ocean Vision” (IRP) (10 min)

Session 3: Discussion on activities to be undertaken for combating marine litter and microplastics (180 min)

All participants are expected to participate in the following sessions. Governments, international organizations, and the private sector are expected to make presentations at relevant sessions. Discussion topics and potential panel members are as follows.  Due to time constraints, only these three topics have been selected, and other relevant topics related to the life-cycle approach (e.g. distribution and consumption) to be discussed at the next opportunity will be determined in the Session 4. 

  • Product design (to be chaired by EU) (60 min): International Council of Chemical Associations, Plastic Europe, Ellen Macarthur Foundation, American Chemistry Council, Japan Clean Ocean Material Alliance (CLOMA), and TBC

  • Environmentally sound waste management (to be chaired by Japan) (60 min): Asian Development Bank, Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA), UNEP-International Environmental Technology Centre, and TBC

  • Multi-stakeholder engagement for global actions (to be chaired by US) (60 min): Environmental Investigation Agency, Bureau of International Recycling, and TBC

Session 4: Discussion on the way forward (15 min)

  • Further expectations (10min)

  • Discussion items at the next forum (5 min)

Session 5: Closing (10 min)

Background and objectives of the meeting

The United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) decided, in resolution UNEP/EA.4/Res.6 operative paragraph 3:“… to strengthen coordination and cooperation by establishing, subject to the availability of resources and building on existing initiatives, a multi-stakeholder platform within the United Nations Environment Programme to take immediate action towards the long-term elimination, through a life-cycle approach, of discharges of litter and microplastics into the oceans.”

More specifically, the following functions are to be included: “Serving as a forum for enabling governments, industry, academia, civil society and other stakeholders to share experiences and coordinate action”.

UNEP will strengthen its contribution to the Global Partnership on Marine Litter (GPML) and its digital platform and has established goals for this platform, which include:

1) integrating data and information from multiple sources;

2) connecting stakeholders;

3) identifying gaps and helping prioritize actions;

4) coordinating and guiding action based on the best available information; and

5) facilitating target setting and measuring progress.

Although the digital platform will become a place to share experiences, we must further create and coordinate actions, as marine plastic litter and microplastics is a matter requiring urgent action given its adverse impacts on marine ecosystems, livelihoods, and industries including fisheries, tourism, and shipping, and potentially on human health.

The Ministry of the Environment Japan is ready to contribute to the multi-stakeholder platform to facilitate its usage and expand its scope, and would like to host a forum where the multi-stakeholder platform enables subject-specific discussions, coordinates existing actions and creates further actions. This forum is intended to identify immediate and concrete activities to be implemented involving various stakeholders. It aims to enhance the potential uses of the platform.

This forum aims to enhance the potential uses of the platform.

Expected outcomes

A report summarizing key messages from the discussions at each session will be developed by the organizer. The summary report and outcomes will be reported to UN Environment Assembly by the UNEP Secretariat as part of the multi-stakeholder platform activities.

Expected outcomes include: - further understanding of the multi-stakeholder platform; - discussion on international-level periodic information sharing; - creation of a place for coordinating international cooperation; - initiation of subject-specific discussions (design standard, EPR, public-private partnership, coordination with international organizations, etc.); - identification of further immediate and voluntary actions.