The Honolulu Commitment

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Participants attending the 5th International Marine Debris Conference held in Honolulu, Hawaii, 20-25 March 2011:

Considered marine debris to include any anthropogenic, manufactured or processed solid material, irrespective of its size, discarded, disposed of or abandoned in the environment, including all materials discarded into the sea, on the shore, or brought indirectly to the sea by rivers, sewage, storm water or winds;

Expressed concern at the growing presence of plastic debris in the marine environment and acknowledged the plastic associations’ Global Declaration on Marine Litter, while recognising other materials also constitute marine debris;

Welcomed the ongoing work of scientists, research organisations and other citizens to better and more accurately understand the sources, nature and extent of marine debris, including the effects of micro-plastics, heavy metals, persistent organic pollutants, endocrine disruptors and other chemicals on marine biodiversity and public health;

Expressed concern at the continued threat and economic costs from marine debris to human health and safety; biodiversity and ecosystem services; sustainable livelihoods; and the boating, shipping, tourism and fishing sectors;

Noted that these issues are compounded by accelerating pressures associated with pollution and climate change, as well as human uses of oceans and coasts, such as fisheries, urban and industrial development, tourism and shipping;

Acknowledged the importance of international mechanisms, such as MARPOL, the Regional Seas Conventions and Action Plans and other regional mechanisms, in preventing and reducing marine debris;

Recognised the opportunities for addressing marine debris through linkages to sustainable development goals that promote resource efficiency and the principles of a green economy, such as improved life-cycle design and sustainable packaging; extended producer responsibility; safe and efficient fishing and maritime transport practices; and the development of integrated waste management infrastructure that supports recycling and energy recovery programmes and zero-waste strategies;

Recognised the roles of governments, international organisations, industry and civil society in sharing best practices and facilitating the transfer of knowledge;

Recognised the need to address the special requirements of developing countries, in particular the Least Developed Countries and Small Island Developing States, and their need for financial and technical assistance, technology transfer, training and scientific cooperation to enhance their ability to prevent, reduce and manage marine debris as well as to implement this commitment and the Honolulu Strategy;

Emphasised the importance of collaborative partnerships, including industry and grass-roots initiatives, and acknowledged the recent creation of the Global Partnership on Waste Management;

Celebrated the increasing level of public interest in finding solutions to the marine debris challenge;

Welcomed the opportunity to contribute to the development of the Honolulu Strategy – a framework for the prevention, reduction and management of marine debris; and

Hereby invite international organizations, governments at national and sub-national levels, industry, non-governmental organizations, citizens and other stakeholders, to commit to:

  1. Make choices that reduce waste in order to halt and reverse the occurrence of marine debris.
  2. Encourage all citizens, industry and governments to take responsibility for their contribution and find solutions to the marine debris problem;
  3. Share openly and freely technical, legal, policy, community-based and economic / market-based solutions that will help prevent, reduce and manage marine debris;
  4. Advocate mechanisms that emphasise the prevention or minimisation of waste;
  5. Facilitate initiatives that turn waste into a resource in an environmentally sustainable manner;
  6. Develop global, regional, national and local targets to reduce marine debris;
  7. Improve global knowledge, understanding and monitoring of the scale, nature, source and impact of marine debris, and raise awareness of its impact on public health, biodiversity and economic development;
  8. Collaborate with global, regional and sub-regional organisations, to enhance the effectiveness of multi-lateral initiatives aimed at preventing, reducing and managing marine debris;
  9. Encourage financial support for global, regional, national and local actions that contribute to the implementation of the Honolulu Strategy;
  10. Encourage relevant intergovernmental fora, including those at global and regional scales, to express support for the Honolulu Commitment and encourage governments to take action consistent with the objectives and strategic activities outlined in the Honolulu Strategy; and
  11. Participate in a global network of stakeholders committed to understanding, preventing, reducing and managing marine debris in an environmentally sustainable manner;
  12. Contribute to the development and successful implementation of the Honolulu Strategy – a framework for the prevention, reduction and management of marine debris – and its periodic review.
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