Global Partnership on Marine Litter (GPML)
Status of initiative: On track
Description/achievement of initiative

The core areas of the partnership will focus on three overarching goals :- Goal A: Reduced levels and impacts of land-based litter and solid waste introduced into the aquatic environment;- Goal B: Reduced levels and impact of sea-based sources of marine debris including solid waste, lost cargo, ALDFG, and abandoned vessels introduced into the aquatic environment;- Goal C. Reduced levels and impacts of (accumulated) marine debris on shorelines, aquatic habitats, and biodiversity.It is anticipated that different stakeholders will form sub-groups to focus on specific issues, e.g. cross-cutting issues. Establishment of additional Partnership Areas would be based on the willingness and availability of lead members for these Areas.

Implementation methodologies

The Global Partnership on Marine Litter (GPML), besides being supportive of the Global Partnership on Waste Management, seeks to protect human health and the global environment by the reduction and management of marine litter as its main goal, through several specific objectives: To reduce the impacts of marine litter worldwide on economies, ecosystem, animal welfare and human health; To enhance international cooperation and coordination through the promotion and implementation of the Honolulu Strategy - a global framework for the prevention and management of marine debris, as well as the Honolulu Commitment a multi-stakeholder pledge; To promote knowledge management, information sharing and monitoring of progress on the implementation of the Honolulu Strategy; To promote resource efficiency and economic development through waste prevention (e.g. 4Rs (reduce, re-use, recycle and re-design) and by recovering valuable material and/or energy from waste; To increase awareness on sources of marine litter, their fate and impacts; and to assess emerging issues related to the fate and potential influence of marine litter, including (micro) plastics uptake in the food web and associated transfer of pollutants and impacts on the conservation and welfare of marine fauna. Expected outcomes of the GPML include: Increased awareness of the impacts of marine litter at various levels e.g. policy-makers, industry, and the general public.Increased body of knowledge on communities of best practices to address marine litter by various stakeholders around the world at various levels, and how their activities contribute to the implementation of the Honolulu Strategy; Identification and filling of knowledge gaps and establishing organizational knowledge processes; Strengthened and coordinated global and regional networks/nodes on /for marine litter; Enhanced resource efficiency by avoiding duplication of efforts, streamlining of resource utilization and information sharing across multiple activities.Increased economic development and job creation opportunities in marine litter prevention and management.Improved synergy among stakeholders including academia, NGOs, the private sector, governments and international organizations; Enabled complementarities between the partnership and relevant Conventions and other international instruments, action plans, initiatives, and activities.Systematic publication of scoping papers and global assessments on emerging issues associated with marine litter.Increased mobilization of resources to address marine litter mitigation.

Arrangements for Capacity-Building and Technology Transfer

The first Massive Open Online Course on Marine Litter was launched in 2015 and ended in January 2016. UNEP is now planning for the Second MOOC to be available in 2017.

Coordination mechanisms/governance structure

UNEP through the GPA provides the Secretariat for the GPML. An international Steering Committee provides guidance. Members webinars have also been initiated to better provide updates and announce opportunities for engagement of partners.


UNEP, Governments, Businesses, Academia, Local Authorities, Nongovernmental Organizations and Intergovernmental Organizations. United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP, International Maritime Organization (IMO), Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO)
UNEA Resolution
UNEA resolution 2/11 Marine plastic litter and microplastics
Resources devoted to implementation
Staff / Technical expertise
UNEP staff
Progress reports
Cut off date each year: 1 July
This initiative fulfils the SMART criteria.
Date of completion: 2025
Operating in countries
Contact information/focal point(s)
Maaike Jansen, gpa@unep.org

Copyright 2017 United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs