NAMC provides input to the international negotiations towards a Global Agreement on Plastic Pollution

NAMC North Atlantic Microplastic Centre has been asked by the Norwegian Minister of Climate and Environment and president of UNEA, Espen Barth Eide, to provide a science-based response on the societal and regulatory aspects of Plastic Pollution as input to the international negotiations towards a Global Agreement on Plastic Pollution.

Plastic pollution. Photo: Andreas Graven, NORCE

The global challenge of Plastic Pollution will be addressed and discussed in the upcoming resumed fifth session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-5.2) that will take place in Nairobi, Kenya 28 February – 2 March 2022.

The theme of UNEA-5.2 is ‘Strengthening Actions for Nature to Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals’ wherein one of the main topics are action on the global issue of plastic litter pollution, which poses significant risks to economy, human health, wildlife and ecosystems services. There is a clear aim to establish an Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) with an ambitious mandate to work towards a legally binding global agreement on Plastic Pollution (UNEP head responds to questions on global plastics agreement).

In the brief prepared by NAMC we address the challenge of Plastic Pollution and solutions from a holistic perspective with focus on socio-economic impacts and the need of regulatory frameworks that are scientifically grounded. The main response from NAMC is stated by the following six key messages:

  1. The social, economic and financial benefits of the agreement will outweigh any immediate costs. 
  2. For the agreement to be successful there must be clear, agreed and standardised definitions of plastics, or at least a combined understanding of the uncertainty embedded within the terms.
  3. The agreement would benefit from rooting in the existing international frameworks, especially to reflect the specificity of different regions and challenges therein. It will require strong and efficient implementation and compliance mechanisms, involving the private and industry stakeholders.
  4. Researching past experiences of global pollutants can better frame our approaches for the future.
  5. Account should be taken of the variable distribution of the financial gains and losses across the identified countries.
  6. Connect to the Science-Policy Panel to Support Action on Chemicals, Waste and Pollution.

One of the authors of the NAMC brief response, Senior Scientist Alessio Gomiero, and Chariman of the NAMC Board, Dep. Executive Vice President Hans Kleivdal, both from the Climate & Environment Department at NORCE and part of the management group of NAMC, is accredited to join the UNEA-5.2 and a preparatory meeting with UNEA President and Minister of Climate and Environment of Norway, Mr. Espen Barth Eide.  

Link to the document.

Contributing Authors (NAMC and affiliated partners)
Nicola Beaumont (Plymouth Marine Laboratory - PML, Lead), Margrethe Aanesen (Centre for Applied Research at Norwegian School of Economics - NHH), Ceren J. Ahi (NORCE), James Clark (Plymouth Marine Laboratory - PML), Helge Flick (NORCE), Alessio Gomiero (NORCE), Piotr Graczyk (NORCE), Farhan R. Khan (NORCE), Hauke Kite-Powell (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution - WHOI), Frans de Vries (University of Aberdeen - UOA), Amy L. Lusher (Norwegian Institute for Water Research - NIVA), Martin Wagner (Norwegian University of Science and Technology - NTNU), Jes Vollertsen (University of Aalborg - AAU).

NAMC - North Atlantic Microplastic Centre
NAMC, led by NORCE Norwegian Research Centre, is a multi-disciplinary, multi-actor and international project focused on understanding the fundamental aspects of plastic pollution in the North Atlantic with relevance to the wider aquatic ecosystem. NAMC is composed of leading experts in plastic pollution from 17 institutes located in six countries (Norway, Denmark, Germany, Italy, England and United States of America) and thus provides an international voice. The purpose of the project is to support international cooperation on generating knowledge on the complexities of plastic pollution. The NAMC project aims at identifying synergies, collecting specific contributions from already established working groups and obtaining a holistic understanding of the multifaceted issue of the plastic pollution. The specific aims of NAMC Pillar 5 “Society and regulations” are to develop a robust knowledge base for improved regulation and sustainable solutions.

The United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) resumed fifth session (UNEA-5.2) will take place online and in Nairobi, Kenya 28 February – 2 March 2022 Fifth session of the United Nations Environment Assembly | Environment Assembly (

UNEA is hosted by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) UNEP - UN Environment Programme

Contact persons:

  • Alessio Gomiero, Acting scientific leader of NAMC, Senior Scientist,
  • Hans Kleivdal, Chairman of the NAMC Board, Dep. Executive Vice President, Climate & Environment Department,
Plastic pollution along the Norwegian coast, from Øygarden in Western Norway. Photo: Andreas Graven, NORCE.