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Philippines joins global initiative tackling marine litter scourge
The project will assist 30 developing countries, including the Philippines, in preventing and reducing marine litter from the maritime transport and fisheries sectors.
Pixabay/Stock

Philippines joins global initiative tackling marine litter scourge

Pia Lee-Brago (The Philippine Star) - April 12, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines is taking part in the GloLitter Partnerships Project, a major United Nations-backed initiative to tackle marine litter scourge, clean up the oceans and decrease the use of plastics in industries.

The project will assist 30 developing countries, including the Philippines, in preventing and reducing marine litter from the maritime transport and fisheries sectors.

Partnering in this endeavor are the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

The project was launched last Thursday with initial funding from the government of Norway through the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation.

The new project is in line with the global development goal on conserving and sustainably using the oceans, seas and marine resources.

It seeks to prevent and reduce plastic litter such as lost or discarded fishing gear and campaigns for decreased use of plastics and recycling in the fisheries and maritime transport industries.

The FAO and IMO intend to better protect the fragile marine environment, as well as lives and livelihoods, in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goal 14 that is committed to prevent and reduce marine pollution and conserve and use the oceans sustainably.

Five regions will be represented in this global effort: Asia, Africa, the Caribbean, Latin America and the Pacific.

Ten countries have been confirmed as Lead Partnering Countries (LPCs) and another 20 countries have been selected as Partnering Countries (PCs) of the GloLitter Project.

LPCs will take lead roles in their respective regions to champion national actions which support the IMO Action Plan to address marine plastic litter from ships and the FAO Voluntary Guidelines for the Marking of Fishing Gear. The LPCs and PCs will work together, via a twinning working arrangement, to build regional support for the project.

The 10 LPCs are Brazil, Costa Rica, Cote d’Ivoire, India, Indonesia, Jamaica, Kenya, Madagascar, Nigeria and Vanuatu.

The 20 PCs are Argentina, Cabo Verde, Colombia, Ecuador, Gambia, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Senegal, Sri Lanka, Solomon Islands, Sudan, Tanzania, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tonga and Vietnam.

They will also receive technical assistance and training as well as guidance documents and other tools to help enforce existing regulations.

The project will promote compliance with relevant international instruments, including the Voluntary Guidelines for the Marking of Fishing Gear and the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, which contains regulations against discharging plastics into the sea.

“Plastic litter has a devastating impact on marine life and human health,” said Manuel Barange, FAO’s director of Fisheries and Aquaculture. “This initiative is an important step in tackling the issue and will help protect the ocean ecosystem as well as the livelihoods of those who depend on it.”

“Marine litter is a scourge on the oceans and on the planet,” said Jose Matheickal, head of the IMO’s Department for Partnerships and Projects. “I am delighted that we have more than 30 countries committed to this initiative and working with IMO and FAO to address this issue.”

Phl, UAE sign MOU

Meanwhile, the Philippines and the United Arab Emirates entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on the establishment of a joint consular committee to create a bilateral mechanism for the protection of the interest of their nationals by mutually providing timely and effective assistance on a whole range of consular matters.

The signatories on behalf of their respective governments were Philippine Ambassador to the UAE Hjayceelyn Quintana and UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Assistant Undersecretary for consular affairs Faisal Eissa Lutfi.

“Excellent people-to-people relations are the bedrock of Phl-UAE bilateral relations and the MOU,” said Quintana, hailing the agreement as another milestone further strengthening Philippine-UAE cooperation.

The virtual inaugural joint consular committee meeting under the MOU was convened after the signing ceremony where the delegations of both countries discussed concrete ways to enhance the assistance given to their nationals in coordination with respective local authorities of each country.

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