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Clean Seas for a Cleaner Pacific
by United Nations Environment Programme (UN entity)/Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (Intergovernmental Organisation) (Intergovernmental organization)
Cooperation between UN Environment and SPREP in the delivery of the Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-Based Activities/Global Partnership on Marine Litter (GPA/GPML), a #CleanSeas Campaign for the Pacific and implementation of the Cleaner Pacific 2025 Strategy to reduce marine debris and achieve a Clean Pacific Ocean.

Contamination of the ocean by marine debris, largely comprised of plastics, is a serious environmental threat with broad economic, social and environmental impacts, including: negative impacts to local tourism and fisheries; reduced food security; damage to coastal ecosystems; entanglement of marine wildlife; and ingestion of marine litter by wildlife with potential for associated toxic chemical transfers.

Discarded plastic waste is a priority marine pollution issue for Pacific Island Countries (PICs). A recent study found plastic ingestion by 97% of examined fish species in the Pacific region. How much material enters the ocean is largely dependent on the extent and effectiveness of wastewater and solid waste collection and management. The limited information available strongly suggests that marine litter is not appropriately managed in most PICs due to inadequate systematic management plans or systems for marine litter prevention, management, and clean up/recovery.
The longstanding partnership between UN Environment and SPREP the Pacific secretariat for UN Environments Regional Seas Programme provides the foundation for further collaboration. This commitment builds on existing global and regional efforts to address marine debris. It will strengthen the linkages between the GPA/GPML, the #CleanSeas Campaign and the Cleaner Pacific Strategy 2025 and leverage their resources to deliver an agreed program of work in the Pacific region.

Both UN Environment and SPREP will contribute technical expertise and other resources. Both organisations will undertake outreach and advocacy activities and cooperate on programme oversight, management and monitoring and evaluation, leading a technical working group under the Cleaner Pacific Roundtable.

Objectives :
Coordinated implementation of the GPA/GPML, the #CleanSeas Campaign and the Cleaner Pacific Strategy 2025 in the Pacific region
Improved understanding of the sources and impacts of marine debris and microplastics in PICs
Mitigation of the negative impacts of marine debris and microplastics in the Pacific Ocean
Improved resource efficiency, waste prevention and waste management
Commitment by individuals, communities, businesses, organisations and governments in the Pacific to reduce their production and consumption of non-recoverable and single-use plastic
PIC Champions to act as global advocates to reduce marine pollution

Implementation Methodology:
Targeted regional and national activities divided into four strategic components, linked to Cleaner Pacific 2025 strategic approaches, the #CleanSeas Campaign and the GPA/GPML:
1. IMPROVED DATA COLLECTION AND INFORMATION SHARING: Regular waste, chemicals and pollution (WCP) data collection and management
2. POLICIES AND REGULATORY FRAMEWORKS: Develop and enforce national policies, strategies, plans and legislation, and strengthen institutional arrangements to support and promote best-practice WCP management.
3. BEST PRACTICES INCLUDING ENHANCED PRIVATE SECTOR ENGAGEMENT: WCP prevention and reduction programmes, including best practices demonstrations and private public partnership initiatives.
4. ENHANCED HUMAN CAPACITY: Sustainable human capacity development and education and behavioural change programmes for WCP management stakeholders.
Progress reports
By 2025, prevent and significantly reduce marine pollution of all kinds, in particular from land-based activities, including marine debris and nutrient pollution
Type of commitment
  • Other (please specify): Drainage capture
  • Coastal clean-ups:
  • Plastics product bans or restrictions :
  • Plastics recovery/recycling/reuse:
  • Reduce invasive aquatic species introduction
  • Management of ship-based pollution and/or port waste management
OTHER POLLUTANTS (please specify)
  • Cleaner production
By 2020, sustainably manage and protect marine and coastal ecosystems to avoid significant adverse impacts, including by strengthening their resilience, and take action for their restoration in order to achieve healthy and productive oceans
Type of commitment
  • Community or Locally Managed Marine Areas
  • Integrated Coastal Management
Increase scientific knowledge, develop research capacity and transfer marine technology, taking into account the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission Criteria and Guidelines on the Transfer of Marine Technology, in order to improve ocean health and to enhance the contribution of marine biodiversity to the development of developing countries, in particular small island developing States and least developed countries
Type of commitment
  • Scientific, socioeconomic and interdisciplinary research
  • Research capacity development
  • Data access and sharing
  • Training and professional development
  • Scientific cooperation
  • Transfer marine technology
  • Actions that support SIDS and LDCs
Enhance the conservation and sustainable use of oceans and their resources by implementing international law as reflected in UNCLOS, which provides the legal framework for the conservation and sustainable use of oceans and their resources, as recalled in paragraph 158 of The Future We Want
Type of commitment
  • Strengthening ocean governance, for example through the development of a national ocean policy or regional ocean policy
  • Development of necessary infrastructure and/or enforcement capabilities to comply with international law, as reflected in UNCLOS and as complemented by other ocean-related instruments
4. ENHANCED HUMAN CAPACITY: exchanges with Hawaii Wildlife Fund to provide training in beach cleanup organisation; sponsored community clean-ups; national training in marine debris environmental monitoring and reporting
1. IMPROVED DATA COLLECTION AND INFORMATION SHARING: identification of sources and collection points of marine debris; workshop to train on necropsy of marine mammals and turtles; more research on impacts of fish ingestion of plastics
2. POLICIES AND REGULATORY FRAMEWORKS: national and regional marine debris action plans; identification and imposing controls on unsustainable packaging and products; national training on litigation, enforcement, compliance
3. BEST PRACTICES INCLUDING ENHANCED PRIVATE SECTOR ENGAGEMENT: piloting integrated marine debris management; marine litter booms deployment; improved public waste infrastructure (bins etc); provision of disentanglement equipment and training ; cost impact assessments and development of alternative market options; technical assistance with monitoring, compliance, reporting
Financing (in USD)
10,000,000 USD
Other, please specify
NB: financing listed above is to be sought through this partnership, possible sources include GEF, GCF, G7, ADB, etc.; Co-financing: 17m Pacific-EU Waste Management Programme; 45.5m Pacific-EU Waste Recycling Programme; USD $15m Japanese Technical Coopera
Staff / Technical expertise
SPREP and UN Environment and other partners
In-kind contribution
SPREP Cleaner Pacific 2025, UN Environment Clean Seas Campaign, GPA/GPML
Basic information
Time-frame: July 2017 - June 2023
FFA (Intergovernmental Organisation), SPC (Intergovernmental Organisation), World Animal Protection (NGO), University of Auckland (Academic Institution), American Samoa EPA (Government), CEFAS (Government), Hawaii Wildlife Fund (Civil Society Organisation) International Maritime Organization (UN entity) Food and Agriculture Organisation (UN entity) Ocean Conservancy (Philanthropic Organisation), International Union for the Conservation of Nature (NGO), Locally-Managed Marine Area Network (CSO), RMI (Government), Solomon Islands (Government), Fiji (Government) Sustainable Coastlines (CSO)
Ocean Basins
  • North Pacific
  • South Pacific
Beneficiary countries
Marshall Islands
Papua New Guinea
Solomon Islands
Other beneficaries
Beneficiary countries (unable to list above): Cook Islands, Niue Other beneficiaries: National Governments, local communities, women, men, children, indigenous peoples, minorities, fisherpersons
Contact information
Anthony Talouli, Pollution Adviser, SPREP, anthonyt@sprep.org,
Apia, Samoa
Other SDGs
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