On the road to UNEA-4

Urgent Action on Marine Litter and Microplastics

Following the discussions and decision of previous meetings of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA), particularly in its third edition, it was established the Ad-Hoc Open-Ended Expert Group (AHOEEG) on Marine Litter and Microplastics.

After a first meeting of the AHOEEG in May 2018 (see the report of the first session here), a second meeting was held on 3-7 December, 2018, in Geneva, Switzerland. The group gathered member-States, experts, Major Groups and stakeholders to exchange on options to tackle marine plastic litter and microplastics.

See documents and outcomes of the second session in this link.

Credits: Government of Campeche

Working through an informal format, the AHOEEG included different break out groups to discuss overarching elements on the topic as monitoring and governance. nrg4SD, as part of the Local Authorities Major Group, attended the session, represented by the government of Campeche and the Mexican National Association of State Environmental Authorities.

Among the organizations participating in this process, many are urging for the establishment of a dedicated convention on plastics, also led by the Center for International Environmental Law and the #BreakFreeFromPlastic movement. More information on the process towards a legally binding instrument on plastics is available in this link.

AHOEEG Expert Meeting. Credits: Government of Campeche

The AHOEEG reviewed previous documents and agreements on the topic, especially in order to make recommendations with a view to a resolution on the issue to be adopted at UNEA4 in March 2019.

In addition to efforts on recycling and waste management, the group urged on the importance to consider the full life cycle of plastics. Additionally, it was reminded of the need to connect the agenda with the 2030 Agenda, particularly through SDGs 14.1 and 12.4. In this regard, it should be emphasized the importance of local and regional governments in this process, particularly as actors responsible for the implementation and follow-up of global decisions and of actions on the ground to eliminate marine plastic pollution.

The report of the participation of Campeche is available here (in Spanish only).


The 4th edition of the UNEA will convene in Nairobi, Kenya from 11-15 March 2019. The session will be focused on the theme of “Innovative solutions for environmental challenges and sustainable consumption and production”. Among other outcomes and specific resolutions, a Ministerial Declaration will be adopted. The session will consider the interlinkages with the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs.

Additional information on UNEA-4 is available through this link.

Registrations for UNEA-4 are currently open for accredited organizations through the website https://reg.unog.ch/event/26989/. nrg4SD as an accredited organization will support interested member regions to register at the event – please contact our Secretariat at your earliest convenience.

Alongside and previous to UNEA-4, a series of relevant events will take place, including:

  • 4-8 March, 2019 – Open-ended Meeting of the Committee of Permanent Representatives (OECPR). This session will focus on the preparations of the intergovernmental process around UNEA 4, including a review of draft resolutions.
  • 7-8 March 2019 – Global Major Groups and Stakeholders Forum (GMGSF). The Forum will decide on outcomes and inputs of the Major Groups and stakeholders into the Assembly.
  • 9-10 March 2019 – Science Policy & Business Forum
  • 11-15 March 2019 – Private Sector & Sustainable Innovation EXPO
  • 11-15 March 2019 – Green tent, which is a civil society space where briefings, workshops, presentations and bi-laterals will take place coordinated by the Major Groups Facilitating Committee.
  • 13 March 2019 – Cities Summit (to be confirmed). For the first time, it is being considered the organization of a full-day event to ponder UNEA’s theme into the urban context, especially considering the role of local and regional governments.
  • 14 March 2019 – Multi-stakeholder Dialogue session during the high-level segment of UNEA. ’s will take place in the afternoon. The theme of the dialogue is “Innovative Solutions for Sustainable Living”. It consists of a unique opportunity for Major Groups and Stakeholder to interact with high level decision makers.

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