Governments, industry, civil society and UN join forces to beat plastic waste pollution

Geneva, 5 March 2020 - With an estimated 100 million tonnes of plastic waste in the oceans, 80-90% of which comes from land-based sources[1], a new Plastic Waste Partnership, established by the Basel Convention, has met for the first time to discuss ways to prevent, minimise, and soundly manage, plastic waste from across the world.

The meeting, convened by the Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam, and Stockholm Conventions (BRS) and hosted by the Seychelles Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change, gathered more than 100 representatives from members of the Partnership, in Seychelles from 2 to 5 March 2020.

At the opening of the meeting, Norwegian Minister of Climate and Environment, Mr. Sveinung Rotevatn, called the Partnership “a unique opportunity to kick-start the efforts to better deal with the environmental challenges of plastic waste.” Mr. Didier Dogley, Seychelles Minister for Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports and Marine then said that “in 2018, on World Environment Day, the world was called to beat plastic pollution. We were then reminded that our world is drowning in plastic pollution. I wish to commend the Basel Convention for initiating this Plastic Waste Partnership; I feel comforted to see that there is a real commitment by the world community towards fighting this plastic curse at the global level.”

The BRS Executive Secretary, Mr. Rolph Payet, announced a new project on plastic waste funded by the Norwegian Development Agency, Norad, to help build capacities for managing plastic waste in developing countries and countries with economies in transition. He described how this 6.9 million USD project will help operationalize the Plastic Waste Amendment adopted in May 2019 by 187 Parties to better incorporate plastic wastes of most concern into the legally-binding framework of the Basel Convention. The new project supports many activities of Convention’s work programme, for instance a Small Grants Programme which will channel funds to the grassroots level in priority regions.

The meeting outcomes included agreement on the activities the Partnership working group will tackle as a first step.  This includes activities on prevention and minimization of plastic waste, facilitating its proper collection and recycling, preparations for entry into force of the Plastic Waste Amendment and plans for outreach and awareness raising activities. The working group will develop and implement these activities along with supporting pilot projects and will provide a first report back on its progress at the twelfth meeting of the Open-ended Working Group of the Basel Convention (Geneva, 22-25 June 2020).

Also launched during the meeting was a Plastic Waste Photo Contest, aiming to raise awareness not only of the plastic waste problem, but also the solutions out there, our collective progress to date and the challenges and opportunities moving forward. Entries from professional, amateur, and junior photographers are invited by 30 September 2020 and will be judged by a National Geographic photographer.

Reflecting on the packed week of discussions, events and announcements, BRS Executive Secretary, Mr. Rolph Payet, applauded the Partnership on its first great leap forward in tackling the plastic waste issue while noting that the hard work was just about to begin. He also reaffirmed the commitment of the BRS Secretariat to the issue and in its support to the Partnership.

Separately, Mr Payet met with the President of Seychelles, H.E. Mr Danny Faure. More details are available on the Seychelles State House website:

The meeting was made possible using funding generously provided by the governments of Canada, Japan, Norway, Seychelles and Switzerland.

Notes for Editors:

The Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal is the most comprehensive international environmental agreement on hazardous and other wastes and is almost universal, with 187 Parties. With an overarching objective of protecting human health and the environment against the adverse effects of hazardous wastes, its scope covers a wide range of wastes defined as hazardous based on their origin and/or composition and characteristics, as well as two types of waste defined as “other wastes”, namely household waste and incinerator ash. For more info see:

On May 10, 2019, the Parties to the Basel Convention adopted two important decisions to address plastic waste, namely the adoption of the Plastic Waste Amendment, and a decision setting out a range of further actions, including the establishment of the Plastic Waste Partnership. These steps have strengthened the Basel Convention as the only global legally-binding instrument to specifically address plastic waste. For more on the Amendments see:

On March 2, 2020, the Plastic Waste Partnership launched the Plastic Waste Photo Contest, to raise awareness on this global issue. For more information on the Contest see:

The Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam, and Stockholm Conventions, or BRS Secretariat, services the three leading multilateral environment agreements governing hazardous chemicals and waste, in order to protect human health and the environment. See for more info and follow the @brsmeas twitter feed for daily news.

For more on the Plastic Waste Partnership, contact:

BRS Programme Officer, Geneva
Melisa LIM
BRS Programme Officer, Geneva

For BRS conventions general media enquiries see: or contact:

Charlie AVIS
BRS Public Information Officer, Geneva

[1] Data from “Marine litter plastics and microplastics and their toxic chemicals components: the need for urgent preventive measures” by Frederic Gallo et. al. in Environmental Sciences Europe 2018; 30(1): 13, at: