High-level Event on Marine Litter and Art Installation

Marine plastic litter is an environmental problem occurring on a global scale today. They are found in every part of the ocean, can be transported over great distances, and their durability means they remain in the ocean for a long time. A recent study in Lake Geneva reported high concentrations of cadmium, mercury and lead in plastics collected from beaches around the lake and indicated that like oceans, freshwater habitats are also affected by plastic pollution. Global plastic production has increased steadily and has reached 320 million tonnes a year. Of the estimated 6.3 billion tonnes of plastic waste produced since the 1950s, only 9% has been recycled and another 12% incinerated. 95% of disposable plastic packaging is wasted.

The greatest burden of plastic waste entering the sea is likely to arise where waste collection systems are ineffective or even non-existent. Developing countries in particular may face challenges in managing the rapidly growing volume of plastic waste. Developed countries may face challenges if they have not developed sufficient capacity to dispose of plastic waste and rely on the continued availability of recycling capacity in other States.

Pollution by marine plastic litter and microplastics needs to be tackled at source. It is not sustainable to clean up plastic pollution once it has entered the sea. United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) has underlined that preventive action through waste minimization and environmentally sound waste management should be given the highest priority. To promote the environmentally sound management of household waste including its prevention and minimization, in 2017, the Conference of the Parties to the Basel Convention established a Partnership on Household Waste. The Conference of the Parties requested the Open-ended Working Group to develop a proposal for possible further actions for consideration at COP-14 in 2019. The eleventh meeting of the Open-ended Working Group is taking place in CICG, Geneva from 3 to 6 September 2018.

High-level Event on Marine Plastic Litter and Microplastics

The Governments of Indonesia, Norway, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and Uruguay cordially invite Heads of the Permanent Missions to the United Nations Office at Geneva and Heads of Delegation attending the 11th meeting of the Basel Convention’s Open-ended Working Group and Heads of International Organizations in Geneva to participate in the High-Level Event on Marine Plastic Litter and Microplastics:

Tuesday, 4 September 2018
19:00 - 20:15 (Room XI, 3rd floor, A/B building) followed by a reception at
20:15 - 21:30 (Delegates Restaurant)
Palais des Nations, 1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland

The High-Level Event is being organized during the Basel Convention Open-ended Working Group which will consider possible further actions to address marine plastic litter and microplastics. The presence of ambassadors and other high-level representatives based in Geneva will demonstrate, in a first event of its kind, the commitment of Geneva-based missions and organizations in the global challenge to prevent and reduce the generation of plastic wastes, its threat to human health and the oceans.

Please confirm your participation by email to the Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions (kei.ohno@un.org, +41 22 917 8201).

Art installation in Place des Nations

The M-Cube by Joules Champod will be launched in Place des Nations at 1:30 on Tuesday 4 September. The M-Cube represents the waste society produces and provokes and motivates us to work together to beat plastic pollution.