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NOAA Presents on North American Coordination to Combat Marine Debris at Collaborative Workshop in Mexico City

MARCH 13, 2023 — On March 1, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) and the government of Mexico’s Secretaría de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales hosted a two-day workshop “Mitigation of Marine Litter and Ghost Nets in Mexico: Building Awareness of Efforts” in Mexico City, Mexico. 

A group of people in a conference room.
Christy Kehoe, NOAA Marine Debris Program California Regional Coordinator, presented on NOAA's work and partnerships across North America. Image credit: NOAA.

This event highlighted the collaboration facilitated by the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), including work funded by the USMCA Implementation Act. This was the first effort by the USTR to bring together marine debris leaders from across these three North American countries.

The goal of the workshop was to foster collaboration and build a community of practitioners among participants. The workshop also aimed to strengthen efforts to address marine debris, ghost nets, and plastic pollution in North America and coordinate communities on international levels. Over 80 participants from Mexico, Canada, and the United States of America, including nongovernmental organizations, federal agencies, and private sector entities shared experiences, best practices, and challenges in the reduction and prevention of marine litter. The meeting included presentations in both Spanish and English. 

NOAA Marine Debris Program California Regional Coordinator Christy Kehoe presented on behalf of the program and highlighted NOAA’s work and partnerships across North America though the USMCA. She also moderated a closing ceremony about what inspires USMCA-funded partners. Panelists echoed their dedication to solving this issue across North America and also recognized the support from the United States Government and NOAA’s role in supporting funding in solving this issue internationally. As a member of NOAA’s Latinos @ NOAA Employee Resource Group, Christy valued this as a unique opportunity to connect with her Latin American heritage. A number of speakers from NOAA Marine Debris Program-funded organizations presented on the main goals, status, and accomplishments to date, and next steps of their projects. Attendees also visited the largest plastic bottle recycling plant in Mexico to learn about Mexico’s circular economy efforts and recycling in the region.

Workshop participants also emphasized the importance of local community engagement and outreach, and shared strategies to engage communities in mitigation efforts, including the need for education in schools, support to local fishers, and coordination of local volunteers. USTR will continue to monitor efforts to prevent and reduce marine litter to ensure effective implementation of the USMCA environment commitments.

Last updated Sunday, March 26, 2023 8:25pm PDT