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It was a moment to remember, as the assembled nations at the resumed session of UNEA5 (UNEA5.2, held 28th February – 4th March, 2022) committed to a new journey on govern the plastic life cycle, with the goal to stop plastic pollution. This was an exciting moment for the Waste and Marine Litter programme at GRID-Arendal, as the staff have delivered multiple products in the lead-up to the resumed session to inform decision-makers on plastics and support the discussions.

Senior Expert in the Waste and Marine Litter Programme, Ieva Rucevska says: “It is a big achievement but we should be aware that it is only a beginning of the journey. The plastic "tap” remains open and there is a distance to go to achieve the zero plastic pollution vision.”

GRID-Arendal staff will continue to provide scientific evidence on the sources, pathways into, and the impact of plastic pollution on the marine environment. We will sit in some of committees that work with plastics pollution internationally, and we will monitor and raise awareness about the outcomes from the other committees tasked with drafting the global plastic pollution agreement.

Senior Scientist in Waste and Marine Litter Programme, Dr. Thomas Maes says:

"This new global plastics agreement is a notable historic moment, but it is only the start. This framework is a turning point, the world's countries are now committed to establish new rules and practices, but we still have to define the specifics. The framework will aim to reduce the use of single-use plastic by closing the loop, setting up better systems for collecting plastics and ensuring that produced plastic is built for reuse. Over the next months/years, the UN will draw up the real legally binding agreement to stop plastic pollution in the world."

GRID-Arendal experts are also part of group of Norwegian Scientists calling to establish an International Panel on Chemicals, Waste and Pollution. A science-policy panel will be established to support action on the pollution and sound management of chemicals and waste, tackling the pressing, urgent problems presented by chemicals, waste and pollution.

Science-based assessments are the foundation of informed decision-making. As well as the legally binding instrument for plastic pollution, this panel was one of the most anticipated resolutions of UNEA-5.2. We already have the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). This new Science-Policy Panel to contribute further to the sound management of chemicals and waste and to prevent pollution allows for a united response to addressing the three planetary crises (climate change, biodiversity, and pollution).

To tackle the world challenge of pollution and waste, GRID-Arendal supports global policy development through the UN frameworks, including the UN Environment Assembly and the Basel Convention. GRID-Arendal contributes to expert working groups on waste and marine litter and develops products to inform international policy-makers. Marine litter, circular economy, waste management, waste trade and sanitation and wastewater are topics that GRID-Arendal specializes in.

For details on our plastic publications and deliverables, please visit:

  1. The Pollution to Solution main and synthesis reports
  2. Drowning in Plastics vital graphics
  3. The Global Platform on Marine Litter (GPML) promotional video
  4. Contribution to the GPML data hub
  5. A series of pre and post-UNEA 5.2 webinars hosted jointly with Ministry of Climate and Environment (View the full playlist)
  6. Inventory of global and regional plastic waste initiatives https://www.grida.no/publications/546

For more information on GRID-Arendal, please visit our homepage, www.grida.no

Release date: 09 Mar 2022

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