This Study summarizes the various problems associated with plastic litter on the marine environment and assesses the current regulatory frameworks. It highlights some of the initiatives launched by civil society, including the private sector, presents the ongoing discussions towards an international treaty, and suggests possible ways forward. 

It will be publicly presented on June 8, 2020, during a webinar organised with Brune Poirson, Secretary of State to the Minister for Ecological and Solidarity Transition. 

Key Messages

  • Plastic pollution in the Ocean is alarming, threatening marine species and ecosystems, impacting human activities and wellbeing, and costing billions of dollars each year.
  • Since a few years, stakeholders have launched several initiatives, at different scales, aimed at reducing the use of plastics, preventing plastic waste from land- and sea-based sources from entering the Ocean, promoting a circular economy approach and encouraging innovations and research in alternatives materials.
  • The international community is also currently discussing the opportunity to elaborate a specific legally binding instrument to tackle plastics pollution. While it is tempting to propose new international agreements to fill identified legal gaps, recent experiences in multilateral environmental governance compel us to reflect critically on this approach.
  • In this context, other—and possibly complementary—options must be carefully considered, including the global coordination and monitoring of plastic-related actions, enhancing synergies between competent conventions and developing new initiatives within existing global and regional frameworks.
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12 pages