JAKARTA, 15 September 2022 — ASEAN and the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) have signed an agreement at the ASEAN Secretariat (ASEC) to support ASEAN Member States (AMS) in combating marine plastic pollution through the joint implementation of the World Bank’s US$20 million grant project: Southeast Asia Regional Program on Combating Marine Plastics (SEA-MaP).
The five-year project aims to reduce plastic consumption, increase recycling, and minimise leakages to prevent land and sea-based marine plastic pollution. Working across Southeast Asia, the project will provide holistic support to develop and harmonise regional policies, as well as create regional platforms for innovation, investments, knowledge, and partnerships.
The project activities will contribute to the implementation of the ASEAN Regional Action Plan on Combating Marine Debris and the ASEAN Leaders’ Declaration on Blue Economy, to realise ASEAN’s commitment towards sustainable, resilient and inclusive use, management, conservation and governance of oceans, marine and coastal resources and ecosystems.
With support from the World Bank and UNOPS, ASEAN will advance cooperation at both regional and country levels to strengthen policies and regulatory frameworks governing the production and use of plastics in Southeast Asia.
Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN for ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC) Ekkaphab Phanthavong welcomed the timely initiative. He highlighted that “the scale and magnitude of the challenge posed by the marine debris issue is indeed nearly impossible for any of us to tackle this alone. Without a doubt, the SEA-MaP will serve as a remarkable beginning for our joint venture in tackling this major challenge together. The Programme will add to ASEAN’s continuing efforts in addressing marine plastic debris and in promoting a transition to a circular economy. I call upon the World Bank, UNOPS and others to join and strengthen our cooperation, partnership and engagement for a concerted response to this major challenge of our time.”
Samina Kadwani, UNOPS Director for Thailand, Indonesia and the Pacific, said: “UNOPS is proud to support ASEC through a timely intervention which tackles a pressing issue that affects us all. Marine plastics pollution knows no borders, therefore, new partnerships and ambitious ideas are key to taking urgent action. The relationship formalised today, offers a path towards significant regional solutions, guided by mutual interests in promoting sustainable practices and protecting marine and coastal ecosystems across Southeast Asia.”
SEA-MaP will be implemented by ASEAN through ASEC with support from UNOPS, in close collaboration with AMS and partners, aligned with the Bangkok Declaration on Combating Marine Debris in ASEAN Region (2019) and the ASEAN Regional Action Plan for Combating Marine Debris (2021).
The SEA-MaP Project Implementation Preparation Workshop was also held this week at ASEC to ensures the timely initiation of project activities, supported by the commitment of each agency, towards the new partnership and flagship project.
The workshop was attended by Ekkaphab Phanthavong, Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN for ASCC; Samina Kadwani, UNOPS Director of Thailand, Indonesia and the Pacific, and Mona Sur, World Bank Practice Manager for Environment, Natural Resources and Blue Economy of South East Asia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand.