Joint Nordic Statement on marine plastic litter and microplastics
We, the Nordic Ministers of the Environment:
- Note with concern that plastic litter is the largest and most persistent component of litter encountered in the marine environment, that possible bioaccumulation of plastic and plastic-related hazardous chemicals in seafood gives raise to human health concerns and that marine plastic litter and microplastics is a rapidly increasing and serious threat to the marine environment, ecosystems and ecosystem services, at the global as well as regional, Nordic and national level; reflected also in the finding of significant loads of microplastics in even in the remotest sea areas, including ice cores in the Arctic;
- Recall the Sustainable Development Goal 14 and its target 1 covering marine litter, and underline the need to pursue its implementation in relation to marine plastic litter and microplastics in all relevant fora;
- Stress that strengthened action is urgently needed to prevent further input and reduce levels of marine plastic litter and microplastic in the marine environment, reflecting the scientific uncertainties in relation to possible negative effects of microplastic on human health, the environment, food security and economic sectors such as fisheries;
- Recall also the United Nations Environmental Assembly (UNEA) Resolution 1/6 "Marine Plastic debris and microplastics"; the marine litter action plans under HELCOM, OSPAR, and of the G7; and the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive and Green Paper on a European Strategy on Plastic Waste in the Environment and the planned EU Commission strategy on plastics, and urge the relevant governments to fully implement their relevant recommendations and decisions, including by national measures, and regional, international and cross-sectorial cooperation, and to cooperate under the Global Partnership on Marine Litter as appropriate;
- Welcome the study of the UNEP Executive Director on marine plastic debris and microplastics, as mandated in the UNEA 1/6 resolution; and the policy recommendations of the UNEA-study advisory group, presented in April 2016;
- Support the proposal for a UNEA-2 resolution on marine plastic litter and microplastics, presented by Norway, and agree to cooperate for its final decision at UNEA-2, contributing to the follow-up of the study and policy recommendations referred to above, and with the goal of strengthening international awareness and effective measures to combat plastic litter and microplastics in the marine environment;
- Stress that prevention and environmentally sound management of waste are key to success in combatting marine plastic debris and microplastics; that environmentally sound management of waste is essential and that circular economy is an important tool in this regard; and that education, capacity building and knowledge sharing is necessary for global achievement of the SDG 14.1 covering marine litter.
- Agree on the need to assess the effectiveness of the relevant international and regional regulatory frameworks to combat marine plastic litter and microplastics; including their implementation and enforcement; to identify possible gaps and synergies; and decide to support the conduction of a such assessment by the UNEP Executive Director if decided at UNEA-2.
 Pending publishing mid-April