The Group on Earth Observations (GEO) Blue Planet Initiative* together with the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS), the Atlantic International Research (AIR) Centre and UNEP Global Partnership on Marine Litter (GPML) organised an event on 29 June 2022 in Cascais, Portugal to promote international action on monitoring marine litter for decision-making. The full-day event, which included an official UN Ocean Conference side event, welcomed 86 participants from 23 countries across the globe.
Through thematic presentations, panel sessions, group discussions and live demonstrations, the event focused on marine litter observation, remote sensing and modelling as key pillars for supporting the establishment of realistic plastic litter reduction targets and developing policies to reach these targets. This is crucial for providing accurate, up-to-date information on global marine litter and plastic pollution needed to monitor and achieve the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14.1.1 targets and support the UNEA-5 announcement to forge an international legally binding agreement by 2024.
Moreover, the event served to advocate the necessity of a global sustained Integrated Marine Debris Observing System (IMDOS) that will work hand in hand with the UNEP GPML to address critical knowledge gaps and other stakeholder needs, including by supporting the Digital Platform.
The proceedings from this event will inform the proposed IMDOS Terms of Reference and interim Steering Committee, who will work together with the new IMDOS project coordinator to develop the IMDOS strategy and implementation plan and follow up on the proposed new collaborations between participants under the IMDOS framework. As pointed out by the IMDOS interim Steering Committee member Alexander Turra (Universidad de Sao Paulo, Brazil) “monitoring schemes should be based on dialogue with local actors and, especially, stakeholders, building on a robust scientific background and tied to policy concerns.” To this end, the event also identified actions in support of the UNEP GPML Digital Platform and the associated Community of Practice on Marine Litter and Plastic Pollution Data Harmonisation, which foster such a co-design process and ensure the accessibility of integrated data and information by a wide range of stakeholders.
A big thank you to our speakers, our Early Career Ocean Professionals (ECOPs) team via the UN Ocean Decade OceanBRIDGES initiative, our organising committee and the funders for this event – the Atlantic International Research (AIR) Centre, and the European-funded projects EuroSea and EU4OceanObs.
Visit the event webpage to access the programme, speaker presentations and other useful resources: www.eu4oceanobs.eu/marine-litter-monitoring-to-inform-action
*The GEO Blue Planet European Coordination is hosted by Mercator Ocean International, facilitated through the EU4OceanObs project.
Group photo at the UN Ocean Conference side event
Centro Cultural de Cascais, 29 June 2022