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Marine Debris Conference Adopts Honolulu Commitment

25 March 2011: The Fifth International Marine Debris Conference, co-organized by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), took place in Honolulu, Hawaii, US, from 20-25 March 2011. The Conference concluded with the adoption of the Honolulu Commitment, establishing a cross-sectoral approach to help reduce the occurrence of marine debris, as well as the damage it causes to marine habitats, the global economy, biodiversity and human health.

The Conference brought together representatives from government and major industries, as well as leading marine researchers. In the Honolulu Commitment, Conference delegates encourage the sharing of technical, legal and market-based solutions to: reducing marine debris; improving local and regional understanding of the scale and impact of the problem; and advocating the improvement of waste management worldwide.

The Honolulu Commitment marks the first step in developing a comprehensive global platform for the prevention, reduction and management of marine debris, to be known as the Honolulu Strategy. The Strategy, which will be developed by Conference delegates, UNEP, NOAA and international marine debris experts, will aim to provide a strategic framework for coordinated action plans to prevent, reduce and manage sources of marine debris. The Honolulu Strategy will outline several approaches for the reduction of marine debris, including prevention at land- and sea-based sources, and the need to see waste as a resource to be managed. It will also call for public awareness campaigns on the negative impacts of improper waste disposal on seas and oceans. [UNEP Press Release] [Honolulu Commitment] [Conference Website]