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News Archive » Guidelines to tackle single-use plastic products in the Mediterranean region, a major contribution to the Barcelona Convention ambition on marine litter abatement

Guidelines to tackle single-use plastic products in the Mediterranean region, a major contribution to the Barcelona Convention ambition on marine litter abatement

3rd December 2021 | Updated: 15th December 2021
  • They have been acknowledged as a major tool to support Contracting parties in implementing the upgraded regional plan on marine litter, discussed today and to be adopted at the COP22 of the Barcelona Convention (Decision IG.25/9)
  • Countries are receiving continuous tailored support to use them through MTF funded activities as well as EU-funded projects: Marine Litter Med and WES.
  • Guidelines are available in English and French

Bottles, bags, cigarette filters, or food containers are some of the most prevailing single-use plastic products (SUPs) stranded in Mediterranean shorelines and sea. Through the Barcelona Convention, countries across the region committed to tackle single-use plastic products, in line with global commitments and other regional frameworks such as the EU.[1]

SCP/RAC releases today the Guidelines to tackle single-use plastic products in the Mediterranean region (English and French) to support countries to fulfil those commitments. They have been developed in close collaboration with national authorities to respond to their needs and expectations.

The guidelines target policy-makers and provide them with a step-by-step approach for developing the most appropriate framework to prevent the negative impacts of single-use plastic products, including marine litter generation. They first discuss and outline SUPs of concern in the Mediterranean region. Secondly policy options are presented, including alternatives, feasibility and potential effects. Finally, they tackle the policy making process through a roadmap, including analysis and implementation. Notwithstanding, non-governmental stakeholders have a key role to play in tackling SUPs and their engagement and action is essential to abate this issue.

In preparation of the guidelines, an Information Document has been produced to gain knowledge on the situation of SUPs in the Mediterranean.  This has been done considering four countries as case studies. The research included the estimation of consumption of particular SUPs, as well as the potential effect of policy measures.

Elements in these guidelines build on the experience and lessons learnt from projects implemented in the region. In particular, regional and national activities of EU- funded Marine Litter Med allowed for addressing key aspects in relation to plastic bags and EPR, which are accounted in these guidelines. Outcomes of the regional capacity building activity of the EU-funded WES project on SUPs have been taken into consideration as well. Upcoming activities of both projects at national level will allow promotion and implementation of the guidelines in Southern Mediterranean countries, as well as through the Cooperation Agreement between UNEP/MAP and the Italian Ministry of Ecologic Transition.

The guidelines complement previous guidelines to support the implementation of the Marine Litter Regional Plan: “Guidelines to phase out single-use plastic bags in the Mediterranean” (adopted at COP21) and “Guidelines to address single-use plastics through public procurement in the Mediterranean”.

Download the Guidelines: English | French




[1] Directive 2019/904, on the reduction of the impact of certain plastic products on the environment

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