On April 14 and 15 the University of Siena, Italy, hosted a meeting of the 15-member Plastic Busters Project consortium to evaluate past success and plan future work.
Project highlights to date include receiving financial support from GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit), the unanimous endorsement of the initiative by the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM), and achieving the prestigious UfM label in February 2016. The label qualifies the project as a viable initiative with distinct benefits for the citizens of the Euro-Mediterranean region.
The University of Siena and SDSN are grateful for this honor, which comes at a critical moment in the fight against marine litter, a high priority issue on both the Mediterranean and International stages. Two important UfM Ministerial Conferences marked this transformative period; one on Environment and Climate Change and another on the Blue Economy. Additional momentum was fuelled by the adoption of the Regional Plan on Marine Litter Management in the Mediterranean by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Mediterranean Action Plan (MAP). Important operational links with the H2020 Initiative for a Cleaner Mediterranean as well as with Sustainable Consumption and Production activities have also been established to promote the project. Furthermore, the issue of marine litter is being prominently featured in the G7 agenda.
The first day of the meeting was devoted to the working modalities of the consortium, coordination between partners, a communication strategy, and different work streams of the project. A forward-looking fundraising strategy was discussed, along with potential supporting partners and cooperating projects identified.
The second day focused on how to best promote Plastic Busters, a flagship project of both SDSN Global and SDSN Mediterranean, more widely. In addition, the project was presented to potential donors, representatives of the Italian government, and European Commission bodies with concern for sustainable development and protection of marine resources.
During the meeting, Sweep-net and ANGED (Tunisia) shared their activities in the South Mediterranean (MENA Region) and possible collaboration points with the Plastic Busters project. Different stakeholders then took the lead in demonstrating potential funding opportunities for discussion among the consortium partners and the participants.
All 15 consortium members of the Plastic Busters Project (UNEP/MAP, MIO-ECSDE, IFREMER, SOCIB, ISPRA, University of Sousse, IWRS, CNR, Consorzio LaMMA, HCMR, ISOTECH, Consorzio Mediterraneo, ECNC Land & Sea Group, University of Bologna, FispMed Network), Union for the Mediterranean, EC DG Research, Econnexions, SWEEP-Net, ANGED, Italian Navy, WWF Italy, Marevivo, EC DG MARE, EPI CBC Med Programme, Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, SAHFOS, GIZ, SCP/RAC.