HomeGlobal Partnership on Marine Litter

Global Partnership on Marine Litter

Under the GPA, land-based marine litter has been highlighted in the ‘Manila Declaration’ (Third Intergovernmental Review of the GPA in January 2012) as a priority source category for 2012-2016 giving UNEP a strong mandate to continue its work on this issue over the next 5 years. Representatives of 64 Governments and the European Commission emphasized the relevance of the  Honolulu Commitment endorsed at the Fifth International Marine Debris Conference (5IMDC), and the Honolulu Strategy – a global framework for prevention and management of marine debris. The Manila Declaration also recommended the establishment of a Global Partnership on Marine Litter (GPML) which was launched 18 June 2012 - UNEP is developing it further in collaboration with relevant partners and will function as the Secretariat of the GPML.

Draft Framework document GPML         GPML Expression of interest form

Honolulu Commitment:  English  Spanish  Arabic  Russian  Chinese  French Korean

UNEP’s marine litter related activities also feed into the workplan of the UNEP-led Global Partnership on Waste Management (the marine litter focal area led by UNEP/GPA). This will ensure that marine litter issues, goals, and strategies are tied to global efforts to reduce and manage waste.


The Global Partnership on Marine Litter (GPML), besides being supportive of the Global Partnership on Waste Management, seeks to protect human health and the global environment by the reduction and management of marine litter as its main goal, through several specific objectives. Specific Objectives:

  1. To reduce the impacts of marine litter worldwide on economies, ecosystem, animal welfare and human health.
  2. To enhance international cooperation and coordination through the promotion and implementation of the Honolulu Strategy - a global framework for the prevention and management of marine debris, as well as the Honolulu Commitment – a multi-stakeholder pledge.
  3. To promote knowledge management, information sharing and monitoring of progress on the implementation of the Honolulu Strategy.
  4. To promote resource efficiency and economic development through waste prevention (e.g. 4Rs (reduce, re-use, recycle and re-design) and by recovering valuable material and/or energy from waste.
  5. To increase awareness on sources of marine litter, their fate and impacts.
  6. To assess emerging issues related to the fate and potential influence of marine litter, including (micro) plastics uptake in the food web and associated transfer of pollutants and impacts on the conservation and welfare of marine fauna.

Expected Outcomes:

  1. Increased awareness of the impacts of marine litter at various levels – e.g. policy-makers, industry, and the general public.
  2. Increased body of knowledge on communities of best practices to address marine litter by various stakeholders around the world at various levels, and how their activities contribute to the implementation of the Honolulu Strategy.
  3. Identification and filling of knowledge gaps and establishing organizational knowledge processes.
  4. Strengthened and coordinated global and regional networks/nodes on /for marine litter.
  5. Enhanced resource efficiency by avoiding duplication of efforts, streamlining of resource utilization and information sharing across multiple activities.
  6. Increased economic development and job creation opportunities in marine litter prevention and management.
  7. Improved synergy among stakeholders including academia, NGOs, the private sector, governments and international organizations.
  8. Enabled complementarities between the partnership and relevant Conventions and other international instruments, action plans, initiatives, and activities.
  9. Systematic publication of scoping papers and global assessments on emerging issues associated with marine litter.
  10. Increased mobilization of resources to address marine litter mitigation.


Structure of the partnership

The GPML will initially be guided by the  Honolulu Strategy and work as a “coordinating forum” for all the stakeholders including international, regional, national and local organizations working in the area of marine litter prevention and management, thereby assisting stakeholders to complement each other’s efforts, to avoid duplication and to optimize the efficiency and efficacy of their resources. The GPML would foster enhanced partnerships between Governments, NGO’s, the private sector, the public sector (e.g. academia) and the general public to work together to reduce and manage marine litter.

The core areas of the partnership will focus on three overarching goals (hereinafter referred to as Partnership Areas):

  • Goal A: Reduced levels and impacts of land-based litter and solid waste introduced into the aquatic environment;
  • Goal B: Reduced levels and impact of sea-based sources of marine debris including solid waste, lost cargo, ALDFG, and abandoned vessels introduced into the aquatic environment;
  • Goal C. Reduced levels and impacts of (accumulated) marine debris on shorelines, aquatic habitats, and biodiversity.

It is anticipated that different stakeholders will form sub-groups to focus on specific issues, e.g. cross-cutting issues. Establishment of additional Partnership Areas would be based on the willingness and availability of lead members for these Areas.


What’s next?

The first partnership forum for the GPML was held during the Second Global Conference on Land-Ocean Connections, 2-4 October, 2013, Montego Bay, Jamaica. At this forum, partnership documentation such as framework document was reviewed and comments provided which the UNEP Secretariat is now incorporating into the final version. Discussions during the GLOC-2 will further inform the priorities of the GPML workplan as well as providing an opportunity for participants and future potential partners to review progress, identify next targets, share information, and to discuss new and emerging issues. 

Here is the report: Report of the Marine Litter Session and Partnership Forum

In the lead-up to the GLOC-2 the secretariat used regional marine litter related meetings to promote the partnership and the online network and seek feedback on the further development of the GPML. The steering committee is the governing body of the GPML and includes the lead of the focal areas of GPML. Here is the report: 2013 progress activities in support of GPML

For more information: Marine Litter session agenda,  GPML Factsheet and GPA Factsheet


Specifically, UNEP has structured its support in the following components:

1. On-line Marine Litter Network: a web-based tool designed to enable the global marine debris community to monitor progress on implementing the Honolulu Strategy; sign on to the Honolulu Commitment, interact and share information, lessons learned, and tools. It will promote the GPML and facilitate access to other online resources and initiatives without trying to substitute them, thereby enhancing coordination and resource efficiency.

2. Regional activities designed to introduce the GPML and the online platform through “regional nodes”: This could include support to implementation of the Honolulu Strategy through e.g. the Regional Seas Conventions and Action Plans (RSCAP), with the view to facilitate the development of regional policy instruments aligned with the Honolulu Strategy framework.

3. Demonstration projects: UNEP will seek to facilitate development and implementation of high impact, practical demonstration projects under the GPML together with partners. Demonstration projects would be developed under the GPML within three main areas: Reducing the inflow of solid waste into the marine environment; Life cycle approach; Plastics recycling/re-design.

4. Public-private partnerships: UNEP will seek, through the GPML, to build functional partnerships with the private sector, to promote practical plastics reduction measures and support complementary policies. Source reduction and corporate social responsibility will be promoted, through measures such as plastics disclosure and greater manufacturer responsibility.

For more information on the GPML and partnership opportunities please contact gpml[at]unep.org

To join the GPML:  GPML Expression of interest form 

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