The GEF Marine Plastics Project aimed to seed the development of a circular economy for plastics, simultaneously engaging major stakeholder groups along the entire plastics value chain to explore synergies, frame a common vision, and identify priority actions to address marine plastics using the best available science and best practices. The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in partnership with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation (EMF) New Plastic Economy, Ocean Conservancy (OC), and GRID-Arendal, and with catalytic assistance of the Global Environment Facility (GEF), implemented the project over a two-year period from 2017 to 2019.
To begin to transform a linear “make – take – waste” consumption to a circular one, the project “Addressing Marine Plastics – A Systemic Approach” was structured using three technical and one coordinating components (see table below). Project Component One, led by the EMF New Plastic Economy Initiative, targeted establishing a global platform to redesign plastics from inception, with the strong support of policies drawn through strong public-private partnerships. Component Two, under the leadership of Ocean Conservancy, focused on mobilizing investment capital, science, governments and civil society, in implementing effective waste management solutions to address massive waste streams in South and Southeast Asia. For Component Three, the UN Environment Programme Economy and Ecosystems Divisions led the project in identifying priority intervention points and integrating existing information and inputs from Components One and Two, as bases for designing a strategic framework for addressing marine plastics. GRID-Arendal coordinated the project as part of Component Four, and co-facilitated the synthesis of knowledge and experience with Component Three, in the design of a roadmap for plastics. Among components, a cross-value chain engagement was essential and thus became a unifying approach in implementing project activities.