28 Jun 2019 Story Oceans & seas

Efforts to combat marine litter given a boost by the adoption of East Asian Seas Regional Action Plan on Marine Litter

The Regional Action Plan on Marine Litter was adopted by nine countries - Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, the People's Republic of China, the Philippines, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam - participating in the 24th Intergovernmental Meeting of the Coordinating Body on the Seas of East Asia (COBSEA), held in Bali, Indonesia, 19-20 June 2019.

East Asian Seas countries generate large volumes of marine litter because of high coastal population, rapid urbanization, poor waste management and intense shipping and fishing vessel activity. A regional approach to tackling marine litter enables coherent and synergistic, and hence more effective, policy and management responses.

Originally developed in 2008, the revised COBSEA Regional Action Plan on Marine Litter will guide efforts in the region to tackle marine litter. It also supports and complements work e.g. through ASEAN, and addresses global priorities identified through the UN Environment Assembly and in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, in particular Sustainable Development Goal 14, target 14.1.

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H.E. Siti Nurbaya, Minister of Environment and Forestry of Indonesia and Mr. Rai Dharmawijaya, Mayor of Denpasar, hosted delegates at the rehabilitated Badung river in Denpasar.

Delegates to the Intergovernmental Meeting were also invited to the Regional Capacity Centre for Clean Seas, established by Indonesia to function as a hub for capacity building, knowledge management and awareness raising related to land-based sources of marine pollution and in particular marine litter and microplastics. The Intergovernmental Meeting encouraged Indonesia to further develop the Centre, aiming at making it a COBSEA Regional Activity Centre (following the model for regional centres used in other Regional Seas).

Vietnam will host the 25th Intergovernmental Meeting of COBSEA in 2021.