The Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) invited Parties, other Governments, indigenous and local communities and relevant organizations to nominate experts to participate in the CBD Expert Workshop to Prepare Practical Guidance on Preventing and Mitigating the Significant Adverse Impacts of Marine Debris on Marine and Coastal Biodiversity and Habitats, to take place from 2 to 4 December 2014, in Baltimore, United States of America.
Participants from all over the world were called to represent their countries and advise on the marine litter issue. A background document was provided by the Secretariat and experts were asked to comment and add on the document. But the main goal of the workshop was to come up with measures to prevent, reduce and mitigate marine debris in a global context that could be added to the document as actual practical guidance. Therefore, it was important to have representatives from all the continents and their various countries.
On the first day of the workshop, participants gave presentations on their current work on marine litter in their respective countries and home institutions. On the second day, participants were divided into two groups of discussion: sea & land-based debris. This way, participants were able to fully exploit their expertise by advising what measures should go on the CBD document. It is known that the advances on assessment and research differ from region to region, country to country, continent to continent and while we have areas that have already started dealing with the problem of marine litter, we still have areas that need that initial assessment to be able to detect amounts and sources. Thus it was very important to have all of the different inputs each person could bring from their own experiences in their home/work countries.
On the third and last day, participants were asked to agree on the document built through their advice and paragraph by paragraph was carefully discussed and agreed or disagreed upon. By the end of the 3-day workshop, there was a feeling of mission accomplished and we were happy to come out with a document that reflected the views of experts from all over the world, who have individually been working hard to address the marine debris issue in their own countries, and now have come together with that same goal, but globally.
I felt very honoured to be representing Brazil, through the Brazilian Marine Litter Association (ABLM – Global Garbage Brazil) as well as Ireland, through my work at the Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT), at the meeting and to be able to advise on measures that could help countries to prevent, reduce and mitigate marine litter in our oceans.
Published by Heidi Acampora