One more year MedCities was present at the MARLICE International Forum on Marine Litter and Circular Economy engaging in different sessions representing local authorities’ voices and our endorsement to the EU Mission Oceans and Waters and the BlueMissionMed (BMM) project.

The event, held in València, MedCities member city, from 22 to 24May, opened with the session “Connecting Seas” that brought together the 4 European Regional Seas Programmes, namely HELCOM, OSPAR; Black Sea Commission, and UNEP MAP. The session focused on sharing their current assessments of marine litter, successes, and challenges, and the importance of the UN Global Treaty on Plastic Pollution currently under negotiation. A legally binding global agreement should provide a global consensus that will support the implementation of regional, national, and local measures to address this challenge.

We attended the session “Towards a global plastics treaty” session organized by MedWaves, bringing together representatives from research, law, conservation, and industry engaged in the Intergovernmental Negotiation Committee to reflect on their impressions of the last Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee in Ottawa & the challenges ahead in finding an agreement for such a needed instrument. We also called to support the Local and Subnational Governments Coalition to end plastic pollution recently launched by ICLEI, the Catalan Government UCLG and already supported by MedCities.

MARLICE was also the occasion for the BlueMisionMed Spanish Hub Workshop, organised by the Spanish Institute of Oceanography, Ecorys, and MedWaves. This was an occasion to share shortlisted innovative transferable solutions to Mediterranean sea pollution and benchmark them with participants to prioritise them in terms of incentives and barriers to their implementation. The public assessed options for circular solutions for fishing gear, bio-based solutions to prevent pollution in natural environments, HORECA solutions to reduce the plastic impact, solutions supporting cities in taking bold action to stop plastic pollution, and educational actions aimed at promoting a positive shift in the relationship between society and the ocean. An inspiring and powerful array of transformative and innovative solutions and actions that enable the dynamic transformation of services and business models required to achieve the Mission Oceans and Waters objectives.

During those days MedCities co-hosted with Ocean Cities Network -OCNet the session dedicated to the role of local authorities in implementing solutions. Starting at the global level we addressed the importance of hearing and considering local communities and authorities when agreeing on international regulations as the UN Environment Programme PlasticTreaty and shared OCNet manifesto. We introduced the relevance of Mission Ocean & Waters for local authorities and the innovative and transformative solutions identified by BlueMissionMed project that are being prioritized for transfer to interested actors. The role of coastal cities and communities was highlighted not only associated with the prevention of land-based marine pollution but also as key actor to engage in policy development. MedCities also presented the results of the Mission Oceans & Waters and BlueMissionMed participatory session at the UN Ocean Decade Conference last April in Barcelona. We followed with examples of measures implemented through collaborations of local authorities with research, NGOs, and civil society.

MARLICE closed with a shared call for an ambitious and inclusive UN Global Plastic Treaty.

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