Plastics Research and Knowledge Management Centre for ASEAN - An Investigation of Options -

Commissioned Report

In the last few years, marine debris and plastic pollution have emerged as policy priorities in the ASEAN region. Political leaders have repeatedly expressed their determination to address these issues and in the last couple of years several ASEAN Member States (AMS) have adopted dedicated action plans.  AMS governments have also declared their intention to work together in response to these challenges, most recently demonstrated by the Bangkok Declaration on Combating Marine Debris in ASEAN Region, adopted in June 2019, where leaders also welcomed the ASEAN Framework of Action on Marine Debris (Framework of Action), which had been finalised earlier that year. As the next step, based on the Framework of Action, the ASEAN Secretariat and the ASEAN Working Group on Coastal and Marine Environment (AWGCME) are currently developing a Regional Action Plan to Combat Marine Debris (Regional Action Plan). Implementing the forthcoming Regional Action Plan (RAP) will require capacity strengthening in several areas, including improved research capacity, knowledge management and capacity building at national and regional levels. Currently, the capacity to generate reliable data and to analyse such data as a basis for sound policy making is uneven and insufficient. Data sources and expertise are often scattered and poorly connected, and there is a lack of overview of existing knowledge resources. Improving this situation is likely to require a strengthening of, and addition to, the region’s current institutions. The need for such strengthening is recognised in the Framework of Action, which includes a proposal to “conduct a feasibility study/consultative meeting on establishment of an ASEAN Centre on Marine Plastics and Circular Economy(Hereinafter called as “ASEAN Centre”)”. This report contributes to that feasibility study, aiming to help AMS governments and ASEAN
Secretariat take an informed decision on whether to establish such a Centre and how it would operate.