To reach millions of people, to positively influence national and international decision-makers and bridge stakeholders from governments, businesses, academia, grassroots and other NGOs; various network representatives at the 6th IMDC agreed to collaborate as members of an International Waste Platform. This Platform was initiated by participants from the following countries: Indonesia, Portugal, Australia, Africa (regional), USA, Germany, Canada, New Zealand, Taiwan, Province of China, and Ghana.
Representatives committed themselves to align objectives, to support the implementation of strategies of Ocean Action, Climate Action and UNEP Clean Seas as well as to share ideas, best practices, concepts, programs, knowledge and opportunities; including the reduction of plastic debris at the source, before it enters rivers and the coastal environment.
The represented hubs endeavour to bridge cross-sector stakeholders within their regions, map stakeholders and their programs.
Country hubs, or national marine debris networks, can make a difference in societal behaviour change and environmental politics by providing input and promoting action which aims at finding solutions to ocean plastic pollution – solutions which according to Dr Habib El-Habr from UNEP, people are hungry for (in desperate need of?). Thus, country and regional hubs are essential to reach the prevention and reduction of marine pollution of all kinds and foster the establishment of national and international partnerships in a multi-stakeholder approach.
The core activities of the hubs evolve around
o Mapping of stakeholders and their programs
o Promoting and facilitating collaboration cross-sector
o Promoting synergy between stakeholders
o Capacity building
o Promoting stakeholder engagement in national action plans and strategies
o Promote the forming of such national action plans and strategies in countries/regions which not yet have developed these
o Country/ regional specific activities
Hubs in Philippines, Timor-Leste, Vietnam subsequently joined. Ongoing communications with stakeholders in Italy, Nigeria, Japan, Russia and India regarding the establishment of hubs in their respective countries. Currently, we are in the process of creating synergy between the hubs.
The model of country hubs - as well as regional hubs (Africa), offers significant opportunities regarding providing insights regarding stakeholders and their programs within their own countries, create synergy between stakeholders, support the forming of a joint mission and engages those stakeholders in a strategy. Stakeholders connected in these hubs are from the government, business, academia, grass root organisations and other NGO, both national and supporting international organisations in the particular country or region.
Despite the critical role and their broad range of activities, country hubs still, have to overcome national and international barriers to success. Given the multitude of challenges the hub teams are facing, a significant step forward is to focus on offering services that are in demand and are needed. To be effective, the hubs need to be better resourced than they are now.
The hubs support the Sustainable Development Goals SDG 13, SDG 14, SDG 15 and in particular SDG #17 – the establishment of national and international partnerships.