Making news

ASEAN launches action plan to combat marine debris

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on May 28 launched the Regional Action Plan for Combating Marine Debris in the ASEAN Member States for the 2021-2025 period, which provides a solution-focused joint strategy to address marine plastic debris across the region.

Adopted ahead of World Environment Day on June 5 and World Oceans Day on June 8, the Action Plan represents a milestone for ASEAN, signifying a renewed, bolder collective commitment through regional actions, aligned with national agendas towards tackling a critical environmental challenge.

Speaking at the event, ASEAN Secretary-General Lim Jock Hoi said the plan is a testament of collective and forward-looking response to the challenge with the aim to support regional policies, platforms and align resources to complement existing country actions.

The plan includes 14 regional actions across four pillars of policy support and planning; research, innovation and capacity building; public awareness, education and outreach; and private sector engagement.

Thai Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Varawut Silpa-archa said building on the Bangkok Declaration on Combating Marine Debris in ASEAN Region and the ASEAN Framework of Action on Marine Debris, the plan will play an important role in helping the bloc achieve this vision and protect vital marine environments that sustain the region for generations to come.

The plan supports ASEAN's overall commitment to tackle the challenge by reducing plastic inputs into the system, enhancing collection and minimising leakage, as well as creating value for waste reuse. Actions include guidelines for countries to phase out single-use plastics, harmonise regional policies on recycling and plastics packaging standards, and strengthen regional measurement and monitoring of marine debris. These coordinated measures will also enhance regional platforms for innovation, investments, and training.

Victoria Kwakwa, World Bank (WB) Regional Vice President for East Asia and Pacific, said the WB has supported the ASEAN Secretariat and ASEAN member states in preparing this comprehensive Action Plan as a framework for joint action and accountability. The WB has also undertaken extensive diagnostics, policy support, and investments across the region, she added./.