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Marine Debris Program Participates in UN Expert Workgroup on Marine Litter and Microplastics

DECEMBER 14, 2018 — From December 3-7, the Marine Debris Program’s Director, Nancy Wallace, represented OR&R at the United Nation’s second meeting of the Ad Hoc Open-Ended Expert Group on Marine Litter and Microplastics in Geneva, Switzerland.

At this meeting, experts continued discussions on barriers to, and options for, combating marine plastic debris, with an emphasis on land-based sources. Additionally, they provided input for the UN Environmental Assembly on options for continuing work around two themes: information and monitoring, and coordination and government. 

The meeting included diverse viewpoints, with representatives from States, civil society, and the private sector. Yet, attendees were united under their shared goal of reducing the impacts of marine debris on the marine and coastal environments, human health, and economies. Experts explored different mechanisms for international action, including through existing governance frameworks and/or a new legally binding agreement. With an array of possibilities, the experts focused on debris prevention strategies and a holistic, evidence-based approach to managing plastic materials. 

The meeting wrapped up with a shared appreciation of both the problem and the importance of coordinated, evidence-based action on the local, national, regional, and global levels. The Marine Debris Program looks forward to continuing its leadership and international engagement on this important issue. 

For more information, contact Nancy.Wallace@noaa.gov.

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