OSPAR seeks approval for Marine Litter Plan

In a Press Release dated 19th June 2014 OSPAR has announced: “ The OSPAROSPAR Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic made up of representatives of the Governments of the 15 signatory nations. Commission looks set to adopt an innovative Regional Action Plan for Prevention and Management of Marine Litter in the North-East Atlantic. The OSPAR Commission, which guides international co-operation on the protection of the marine environment of the North-East Atlantic, aims to finalise the plan in Cascais (Portugal) at its annual meeting next week.

The dynamic oceans coupled with the diverse sources of marine litter create a problem that straddles boundaries and requires collective action to solve. In 2010, OSPAR Ministers noted that quantities of litter in many areas of the North-East Atlantic were unacceptable and committed to continue to develop reduction measures and targets.

The Regional Action Plan on Marine Litter has been developed with the aim of following-up on OSPAR Ministers’ commitments and of implementing the objective of the North East Atlantic Environment Strategy “to substantially reduce marine litter in the OSPAR maritime area to levels where properties and quantities do not cause harm to the marine environment”. The Plan will focus on:

  • the development of regionally co-ordinated reduction/operational targets taking into account the European Union’s Marine Strategy Framework Directive;
  • specific sources and items of marine litter;
  • the development of regional measures;
  • monitoring and assessment;
  • co-operation with other relevant regional and international organisations.


The OSPAR Regional Action Plan will support the Rio+20 global commitment to “take action to, by 2025, based on collected scientific data, achieve significant reductions in marine debris to prevent harm to the coastal and marine environment”. The OSPAR objective is in line with the European Union’s Marine Strategy Framework Directive, where achieving Good Environmental Status also relates to the properties and quantities of marine litter that should no longer have harmful effects on coastal and marine environments by 2020. In this sense, OSPAR’s plan for prevention and management of marine litter can be seen as an exemplar for a regional effort supporting multiple national, regional and global commitments.

Full details of the Regional Action Plan on Marine Litter will be announced following the meeting of the OSPAR Commission from 23rd-27th June 2014.

Source: OSPAR, 19th June 2014.

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