G20 Research Group

G20 Summits |  G20 Ministerials |  G20 Analysis |  Search |  About the G20 Research Group
[English]  [Français]  [Deutsch]  [Italiano]  [Portuguesa]  [Japanese]  [Chinese]  [Korean]  [Indonesian]

University of Toronto

G20 Information Centre
provided by the G20 Research Group

Logo of the 2017 Hamburg Summit

G20 Action Plan on Marine Litter

July 8, 2017, Hamburg

The G20 recognizes the urgent need for action to prevent and reduce marine litter in order to preserve human health and marine and coastal ecosystems, and mitigate marine litter's economic costs and impacts. We stress the direct relationship between the challenge of marine litter, environment, human health, economic development, social well-being, biodiversity and food security.

Realizing the global nature of the challenge of marine litter, the G20 will work together to promote and initiate measures and actions at local, national, and regional levels to prevent and reduce marine litter. We recognize that the lack of effective solid waste management, wastewater treatment and storm water systems, and unsustainable production and consumption patterns, are primary land-based sources and pathways of marine litter. Taking into account the need for comprehensive multi-stakeholder involvement, we as the G20 acknowledge the role of non-state actors and further encourage private sector engagement and the development of environmental protection solutions to reduce marine litter.

We recognize the challenge posed by knowledge gaps. We consider UNEP's report on "Marine plastic debris and microplastics - global lessons and research to inspire action and guide policy change" and the GESAMP reports in 2015 and 2016 on "Sources, fate and effects of microplastics in the marine environment: A global assessment", and The First Global Integrated Marine Assessment (World Ocean Assessment I, which is the outcome of the First Cycle of the Regular Process) as positive foundations on which to base further work on marine litter. In accordance with and acknowledging relevant UN resolutions and commitments and where applicable within different regional seas conventions, programs and initiatives, as well as action plans and measures in place (as referred to in the annex to this document), we will continue to share knowledge and experiences and support further research into marine litter and its prevention to fill evidence-based knowledge gaps. A lack of certainty in scientific evidence can no longer be accepted as an excuse for non-action. Recognizing that a large majority of G20 are members to a Regional Cooperation, Action Programs, Action Plans etc., we are determined to complement existing initiatives, experiences and expertise, and work to incorporate them into the G20 approach.

We, the G20, will take action to prevent and reduce marine litter of all kinds, including from single-use plastics and micro-plastics. We thus reiterate our commitment to preventing and substantially reducing marine litter and its impacts by 2025 in support of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its Sustainable Development Goals and targets related to marine pollution, waste management, waste water treatment and sustainable consumption and production by putting into practice the following 'G20 Operational Framework' and the voluntary Global Network of the Committed (GNC).

[back to top]

G20 Operational Framework

Issues to be addressed

The G20 maintains that the tools to reduce marine litter have to be as diverse as the challenge of marine litter itself. There is no 'one size fits all' solution. We reiterate the need to:

Given that in many regions the largest amount of marine litter entering the oceans worldwide stems from land-based sources, waste reduction and waste management, as well as waste water management, including storm water, deserve priority actions.

The G20 emphasizes its need to work on land- and sea-based sources of marine litter and commits to focusing on the following priority areas in accordance with national circumstances.

[back to top]

Areas of prior concern and potential policy measures:

1. Promote the socio-economic benefits of establishing policies to prevent marine litter

  1. Acknowledge and promote the socio-economic benefits of preventing marine litter and reduction measures in terms of employment generation including the informal sector, tourism development, sustainable fisheries, waste and wastewater management, biodiversity and other areas
  2. Identify policy measures on the basis of risk and impact assessments (including economic, social and environmental costs and benefits)
  3. Facilitate communication and cooperation between impacting and impacted municipalities, countries and regions as well as with other stakeholders
  4. Promote partnerships with stakeholders from economic sectors such as tourism, fisheries, the shipping and cruise sectors, waste, waste water and harbour management, as well as the plastics and consumer goods industries.
  5. Develop highly qualified scientific and technical staff for monitoring and assessing marine litter and alleviating its impacts (e.g. treatment centres for injured animals such as turtles etc.)

[back to top]

2. Promote waste prevention and resource efficiency

  1. Utilize the waste hierarchy and the '3 Rs' (reduce, reuse, recycle) approach, according to which waste prevention should be the first option, followed by reuse and recycling
  2. Promote mechanisms to involve producers, importers and retailers in the establishment of resource-efficient product value chains from design to end-of-life treatment and in financing waste collection and treatment
  3. Significantly reduce the use of micro-beads and single-use plastic bags and where appropriate phase them out
  4. Implement source reducing measures, e.g. Sustainable Material Management (SMM), by paying attention to product innovation, product design and consumer behaviour (product use)
  5. Significantly reduce the loss of plastic pellets during production and transport

[back to top]

3. Promote sustainable waste management

  1. Support integrated sustainable waste management including infrastructure (for collection and treatment)
  2. Promote access to regular waste collection services and facilitate investments in waste management infrastructure in order to prevent waste leakage into the sea
  3. Where needed, integrate informal waste workers into modernized waste management systems in order to improve their working conditions and livelihoods
  4. Support international cooperation among the G20 and with other partners, for capacity development and infrastructure investments for improved waste management systems in coastal, urban and rural areas
  5. Establish adequate port reception facilities at ports and terminals in line with MARPOL requirements, in particular Annex V. Encourage port reception facilities to apply a reasonable cost or when applicable no-special-fee system for waste of sea-based sources
  6. Promote regulatory frameworks on environmentally sound management of waste in order to facilitate its implementation at local levels
  7. Secure cross-financing of waste management operational activities (e.g. through economic incentives, fees, charges, deposit funds or taxes)
  8. Surmount barriers to financing waste management, e.g. by de-risking private waste management infrastructure investment in G20 Countries (cf. APEC model)

[back to top]

4. Promote effective waste water treatment and storm water management

  1. Consider providing and extending wastewater treatment coverage
  2. Facilitate investment in wastewater treatment infrastructure in order to prevent waste leakage into the sea
  3. Promote available technologies to avoid large solid waste from entering into rivers and oceans

[back to top]

5. Raise awareness, promote education & research

  1. Promote public information campaigns for citizens and businesses to reduce waste generation, to re-use and to facilitate their participation in waste collection systems and to avoid littering
  2. Support research and coordination among countries and international organizations to identify and remediate through environmentally sound methods sources of marine waste, concentrated areas of marine litter (national, regional, local), taking into account, inter alia, litter loads and sensitivity of biodiversity and ecosystems and document defining characteristics (lack of infrastructure, geography, product use and impacts on marine biodiversity and human health)
  3. Support research to assess marine litter impacts on ecosystems and human health
  4. Promote knowledge sharing, e.g. by expert exchange, thus strengthening institutional and human capacities
  5. Include scientific and technical aspects in measure-related considerations, inter alia by promoting and, where under way, continuing and supporting efforts with regard to harmonization of global marine litter monitoring, as well as by standardization of methods, data and evaluation

[back to top]

6. Support removal and remediation action

  1. Support research and coordination to identify environmentally sound removal and remediation actions
  2. Develop guidance and toolkits and support their implementation
  3. Promote activities to clean up marine litter in a planned and regular manner

[back to top]

7. Strengthen the engagement of stakeholders

  1. Seek to continue communicating about marine litter (amongst G20 partners as well as with third parties)
  2. Contribute to implementing existing regional plans tackling marine litter and developing new such plans, where useful
  3. Accept appropriate responsibilities and act as a focal point in existing networks and co-operations involving G20 members
  4. Continue to involve stakeholders (in particular local authorities, civil society organization, Industry, Financial Institutions and Scientific Experts)
  5. Stimulate and support Public Private Partnership (PPP) as relevant
  6. Promote the engagement of the private sector in reducing marine litter and in developing integrated waste management and waste water treatment solutions
  7. Promote the issue of marine litter in high level economic forums (e.g. World Economic Forum and Green Financing Forum)
  8. Inform about G20-related activities in international forums, inter alia SDG 14 Conference (New York), Our Oceans Conference, (Malta), APEC, ASEAN, and possible G20-side events, 6th International Marine Debris Conference (San Diego)
  9. Promote knowledge sharing, e.g. by expert exchange, thus strengthening institutional and human capacities
  10. Harness existing business (B20) engagement to promote a dialogue on the contributions of industry to tackling marine litter
  11. Communicate results, effects, achievements of measures, activities and projects that address marine litter
  12. Promote cooperation between authorities responsible for freshwater and marine water

[back to top]

Global Network

Helping to support implementation of the activities within relevant work areas, the G20 launches a voluntary Global Network of the Committed – GNC, a platform addressing marine litter linked to the UNEPīs Global Partnership on Marine Litter (GPML) to offer and secure exchange, dissemination and transfer of information, standards, experiences and knowledge.

The network will offer a platform to share knowledge and experiences on the implementation of the G20 Action Plan on Marine Litter and the GPML Steering Committee will support the development of terms of reference for the GNC.

[back to top]


Quotation and citation (non-exhaustive)

of conventions, programs and initiatives, action plans and measures, and relevant UN resolutions:

[back to top]

Source: Official website of the German G20 presidency