United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Report of the Co-Chair of Partnership Dialogue 1

Key Messages from Partnership Dialogue 1:
Addressing Marine Pollution
In addressing the commitment taken by SDG 14.1, participants shared
the sense of urgency _to act in addressing all forms of marine pollution by
2025. During the dialogue we heard about the problems caused by different
forms of marine pollution, especially marine litter, including _micro-plastics,
and nutrient pollution. We al~o heard of the risks posed by other and new
forms of pollution, including abandoned fishing gear, underwater noise, and
pollution from ships. In addition to marine litter and microplastics, these act
as multiple stressors on the health of our ocean.
However, there is momentum for action and change, that momentum
is now. We are very encouraged by the many examples of good practices
that are being put in place and by the voluntary commitments that have been
announced. Countries and stakeholders shared a wide range of concrete
examples of action being taken to combat marine litter and microplastics in
particular, and many countries shared solutions from national efforts and
action plans. We also heard examples innovative technology and solutions.
Many speakers stressed the importance of prevention, whether by
capacity building and technology transfer waste management to prevent
plastic waste and pollutants from entering the waterways, or through
education and communication to foster behavioral change. Many recognized
the complex trans-boundary nature of the marine pollution problem, which
involves a wide array of social, economic drivers, deeply rooted in our
consumption and production patterns. Marine debris is, in the words of one
Co-Chair, a "slow-motion catastrophe" if it is not addressed properly.
Partnerships between governments, private sector and civil society
across multiple dimensions, and collaboration acro~s :borders, are critical
crafting effective ~esponses to marine pollution.
Many highlighted the importan~ role of policy respons~s to plastics
waste and microplastics citing examples such as fees levied on plastics,
banning single use plastic, banning micro-beads in cosmetics and personal
care products. The link between excess application of fertilize~ and nutrient
pollution in the oceans was pointed out.
Some Participants pointed out the need for enforcement and effective
implementation of existing legislation, policies as well as agreemen~s and
conventions dealing with marine· pollutions. Speakers also referred to the
assessment of international and regional governance strategies and
approaches to combat marine litter to be presented to the third United
Nations Environment Assembly in December and the need for stronger
international commitment to combat marine litter." There is a need to further
harmonize methods and standards to monitor marine litter and microplastics
in order to monitor our progress towards reaching target 14.1
It was mentioned that several Regional Seas Programmes have
developed action plans that include monitoring and management of marine
debris and other forms of pollution from shipping and fisheries activities. In
the regional context, mention was also made of leakage from shipwrecks,
nuclear waste, and World War II relics.
The SDGs are indivisible and interlinked. The dialogue highlighted
the interlinkages between SDG14.l and many of the other SDGs, and the
multiple benefits in reaching the SDG 14 for other goals and targets. For
instance, as one of the panelists noted, reduction in the excess application of
fertilizers is good for air quality, as well as terrestrial and marine waters.
Another panelist pointed out that same holds for marine litter and
microplastics. There were calls for further strengthening of scientific
research, data collection, and information sharing in the area of marine
pollution to more effectively guide decision-making. Delegations also
highlighted the need for capacity building, technical support, and resource
In closing, the dialogue. underlined the urgency to act at national,
region~l and global level, together among the stakeholders. The good news
is that the problem of marine littering can be solved! Many delegations
shared workable solutions and commitments for the way forward and one
co-chair quoted Elvis Presley in his closing remarks "A little less
conversation, a little more action please".