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Greening Governance Seminar Series: Slowing the Tidal Wave of Plastic Polluting the World's Ocean

Join leading pollution experts from around the world for a conversation on the challenges of protecting the world’s marine environment from plastics.

Presentation Slides

Join the conversation: #GreeningGovernance, #plasticpollution, #plasticbans, #singleuseplastics, #BeatPlasticPollution

Approximately 8 million tons of plastic leak into the world’s Ocean every year, where it can harm wildlife, damage ecosystems and slow economic growth. Once it enters the food chain, this pollution can also threaten human health, and at this rate, the amount of plastic littering the seas will outweigh the schools of fish that swim through them by 2050.

Many countries around the world have woken up to the serious impacts of plastic pollution, with 127 nations adopting some form of legislation to regulate this challenge. These policies range widely, from outright bans in the Marshall Islands to progressive phase-outs in Moldova and Uzbekistan to laws that incentivize the use of reusable bags in Romania and Vietnam. However, most states fail to regulate plastic throughout its lifecycle, favoring partial bans over full bans or allowing numerous exemptions.

Yet plastic production isn’t slowing down – it doubled in the last two decades, and experts predict that it will continue to rise in the coming years. To safeguard the Ocean from this pollution, policymakers must step up and urgently reduce the consumption of single-use plastics. But what legislation should countries adopt, and what obstacles stand in the way of decision-makers seeking to implement effective policies?

Speakers will profile innovative reforms and highlight steps that policymakers everywhere can take to accelerate progress towards achieving Sustainable Development Goal 14.


  • Mr. Hugo-Maria SchallyHead of Unit for Multilateral Environmental Cooperation, Directorate General for the Environment, European Commission
  • Dr. Collins OdoteLawyer and Senior Lecturer, School of Law, University of Nairobi 
  • Ms. Andrea A. JacobsAttorney, Antigua and Barbuda 
  • Ms. Carole ExcellActing Director, Environmental Democracy Practice, WRI

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About the Series

WRI's Greening Governance Seminar Series bridges the divide between the governance and environmental communities to identify solutions that benefit people and the planet.

  • Why do some environmental policies succeed in one country but fail in another?
  • What will it take to transform the Paris Agreement’s ambitious commitments into actionable policies?
  • How can decision-makers engage a range of stakeholders, from average citizens to Fortune 500 companies, to build support for policies that protect natural resources and the communities that depend on them?
  • How can governments sustain this environmental action across election cycles?
  • Many of the answers to these questions are, at heart, issues of governance.

Increasing public participation in environmental decision-making can deepen civil society’s commitment to climate change mitigation and yield more equitable, effective policies. Enhancing government transparency equips communities with the information that they need to engage in these policy-making processes. Strengthening accountability frameworks helps ensure that governments make progress on their Paris Agreement emissions reduction targets. In short, good governance can improve climate and environmental outcomes.

Yet the governance and climate communities continue to work in silos, conducting research and implementing programs that remain largely divorced from one another.

WRI’s Greening Governance Seminar Series seeks to bridge this divide by bringing together leading experts from both fields to discuss the intersection of their work, the most pressing environmental governance issues at hand, and solutions that benefit people and the planet.

Governance, Ocean

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