Marine plastics has become a global development challenge as the growing amount of mismanaged plastic waste pollutes oceans, coastlines, rivers, and other inland waterways while affecting the livelihoods of coastal communities. The sudden increase in single-use plastics during the COVID-19 pandemic has created an additional stress on countries working to tackle the challenge.
Countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have expressed their strong commitment to tackling this growing environmental issue through the adoption of the Bangkok Declaration on Combating Marine Debris in the ASEAN Region and the ASEAN Framework of Action on Marine Debris at the 34th ASEAN Summit in June 2019. Building on this commitment, the World Bank supported Thailand (as chair of ASEAN in 2020) in the preparation of the ASEAN Regional Action Plan for Combating Marine Debris. Drawing from inputs from regional stakeholders and the 10 ASEAN member states, the Regional Action Plan proposes an integrated approach to address marine plastic pollution in ASEAN over the next five years (2021-2025) through 14 regional actions at three key stages of the value chain: 1) Reduce Inputs into the System, 2) Enhance Collection and Minimize Leakage, and, 3) Create Value for Waste Reuse.
The virtual event featured H.E. Dato Lim Jock Hoi, Secretary-General of ASEAN making welcoming remarks, followed by remarks from Victoria Kwakwa, the World Bank’s Regional Vice President for East Asia and Pacific, and H.E. Varawut Silpa-archa, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment of Thailand. The event was also attended by public sector, private sector and key development partners in attendance.