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On June 27, 2014, OSPAR adopted its long-awaited Regional Action Plan on Marine Litter, designed to promote concerted action to reduce marine litter in the North East Atlantic. The plan also includes measures to protect 16 vulnerable species and habitats. The Plan will address litter from both land and sea based sources and will result in a reduction in marine litter on coasts and beaches.
The Plan supports the global effort to achieve significant reductions in marine debris by 2025 as agreed by Heads of States at Rio+20. It provides a regional contribution to the European Union’s Marine Strategy Framework Directive. It also invites international organisations, the private sector and the non-governmental organisations to cooperate in its implementation.
It is a major milestone celebrated by the organisers of IMPAC3, 3rd Marine Protected Areas. One of the six major conclusions of the congress was an emphasis on the necessity of regional approaches for devising solutions, particularly with respect to governance. The commitment made by OSPAR reflects this approach and the recommendations for waste reduction illustrates the willingness of countries in the OSPAR area to protect marine biodiversity in the region.
A biologically diverse North-East Atlantic is vital for the proper functioning of marine ecosystems as well as supporting human health and the millions of livelihoods that depend on it. The measures agreed today demonstrate OSPAR countries’ willingness to take active steps to protect biodiversity in the region.
The 16 marine habitats and species protected in these recommendations bring the total list to 34 species and 14 habitats including those agreed at previous OSPAR meetings.