Plastic Pollution and Marine Litter

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Today, plastics are the largest, most harmful and most persistent fraction of marine litter, accounting for at least 85% of total marine waste. Plastics are also found in air, soil, and freshwater. Addressing this complex, global problem, requires urgent and coordinated efforts among different stakeholders. The Global Partnership on Plastic Pollution and Marine Litter Digital Platform enables this coordination and informs all actors working to address this. It offers a single point of access for current, accurate data and information on marine litter and plastic pollution and related topics, and it provides a wide range of materials to support stakeholders’ needs, ranging from scientific research to technological innovation and public outreach, to inform decision-making, educate and raise awareness, facilitate target setting, and advance stakeholders’ cooperation and coordination.

This multi-stakeholder, mostly open-source Digital Platform is a one-stop-shop that, as called for in paragraph 3 of UNEA resolution 4/6, compiles and crowdsources different resources, integrates data, and connects stakeholders to guide action around this pressing issue. The platform’s objectives tie directly to UNEP’s Programme of Work (PoW) project 522.4 “Protecting the marine environment from land-based pollution through strengthened coordination of global action”, with close linkages to other pillars.

The Digital Platform has a global network of over 2,000 stakeholders across different sectors and provides access to: more than 2,200 global, transnational, national, and subnational resources including: Action Plans; policies; technical resources; financing resources; initiatives; technologies; events; capacity development material; and data layers. The resources and data supports stakeholders in taking an evidence-based approach to identifying key sources, pathways, and hazards, from source to sea and across product life cycles. Additionally, the Digital Platform development team is working with different stakeholders to co-design a Workspace to support national source inventories and Action Plans. Through personalized experiences, the Digital Platform will help users access the most relevant resources and data, to measure progress towards set goals and indicators at national and regional levels, while providing clear linkages between policy approaches and data analysis capabilities. 

Over 40 partners have supported the platform’s development by sharing their knowledge of products, datasets, technological expertise, and funding. Additionally, Action Tracks bring together stakeholders with common interests to share and discuss problems and opportunities which encompass the full lifecycle of plastic. As part of the Action Tracks Framework, a network of informal Community of Practices (or CoPs) facilitates networking, promotes knowledge exchange, and encourages collaboration among the members and other platform users. Some, but not all, entities supporting CoPs may evolve into more formal Centers of Excellence (CoEs). Once established, these will be formal entities responsible for: establishing and promoting good practices; contributing to the development and enforcement of data governance practices; and enabling capacity building and collaboration among stakeholders. A pilot in the LAC region is supporting the creation of the first CoEs.

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Data Hub

The GPML Data Hub provides metrics to measure progress, datasets on plastic pollution and marine litter, terminology, and definitions, storytelling and custom maps as well as APIs (Application Programming Interface) to integrate the data into your work. 

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