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OCEAN CONFERENCE – Partnership dialogue 1: Addressing marine pollution

Statement delivered by the Under Secretary of State of the Ministry of Environment, Silvia Velo during the Ocean Conference on the occasion of the Partnership dialogue 1: Addressing marine pollution —


Honorable Chairs,
Mr/Ms. Moderator,
Honorable Ministers,
Excellencies, Colleagues,

Thank you for giving me the floor,
Marine pollution represents an increasing threat to our marine and coastal biodiversity, with harmful pressures on ecosystems and lethal effects on marine fauna. In addition, the phenomenon of microplastics has been recognized as a potential threat to human health due to the fragmentation of floating plastics in the oceans ending up in food chains.
It is clear then that marine pollution, and in particular marine litter, has achieved a central role in the environmental programmes and policies at all levels. Indeed, I would like to confirm the Italian strong commitment towards the marine pollution cause by giving you some concrete and useful data.
Italy is firmly convinced that marine litter prevention and reduction policies are key in the fight against marine pollution and has always promoted waste management approaches based on the models of the resource efficiency and circular economy.
Along this line, specific legislative measures for the progressive reduction of production and consumption of traditional and single-use plastic bags have been adopted in the last years together with specific measures implementing marine litter provisions under the EU marine Strategy Framework Directive and the Barcelona Convention.
The relevance of the Regional dimension has been confirmed with the signature of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry for the Environment and UNEP/MAP establishing also the enhancement of marine litter management.
As a proof of possible linkages between the regional and global levels, Italy has organized, in collaboration with UNEP/MAP, under the current G7 Presidency, a workshop on marine litter focusing on the modalities of interaction and synergies among the existing Regional and International tools, as the G7 activities on marine litter.
Regional Programs can also be used as perfect models of cooperation among States sharing the same basin for the implementation and enforcement of compliance measures against illicit behaviors set under existing International agreements.
Regional existing platforms and partnerships should also be used as points of reference for fostering a more effective engagement of the relevant key sectors as maritime industry, tourism and agriculture, NGOs and the civil society.
The leading role of Italy in the said field is further strengthened by its decision to join the UNEP Clean Seas initiative and the International coalition to reduce Plastic Bags pollution.
Finally, we are all aware that marine pollution includes, among its critical causes, “noise” and, in particular, underwater noise. Italy is firmly committed to promote actions aimed at combatting this threat as proved by the voluntary commitment registered on the Ocean Conference web site. Italy is ready to take the lead in this sector by inviting all other Parties to seriously consider this issue in their national policies.
I thank you for the attention and I hope the outcome of this dialogue will contribute in a concrete way to the common objectives of sustainable development and marine environment protection.