[2022] Side Event at the 2022 UN Ocean Conference: "Plastics and Marine Pollution: Innovation for SDG 14.1"

Wednesday, 29 June 2022 - 4:00pm to 5:15pm


The ocean is facing an unprecedented threat as a result of human activities, particularly marine litter mostly made up of plastic. Plastic pollution in the ocean has a wide range of environmental, social, and economic impacts. For example, plastic waste in the ocean poisons and entangles animals, damages tourism sector, enters the food chain, and changes the acidity of the ocean. Recent research says the number of plastics entered in the oceans is expected to triple by 2040 and there could be more plastic in the oceans than fish by 2050. The COVID-19 pandemic has led to soaring demand for single-use plastic, intensifying pressure on marine plastic pollution

Acknowledging the need for urgent global action, on 2 March 2022, UN Member States agreed to create a legally binding global agreement to tackle plastic pollution in the world’s oceans, rivers, and landscapes at the 5th UN Environment Assembly (UNEA-5) in Nairobi. The governments of Kenya and Portugal are co-hosting the 2022 Ocean Conference from 27 June to 1 July 2022 in Lisbon, Portugal to identify ways and means to support the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14 (Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas, and marine resources) under the backdrop of “the Ocean Decade 2021-2030”. At this important conference, the United Nations Office for Sustainable Development (UNOSD) and the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries of the Republic of Korea (MOF) join forces to co-organize a side-event with a focus on finding solutions to marine plastic issues at the global and national level.

The UNOSD which serves as the technical arm of UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) holds a global mandate to strengthen the capacity of Member States to undertake integrated sustainability transitions, through improved knowledge management such as activities of knowledge sharing capacity, and policy advisory with the Member States. Acknowledging the importance of SDG 14 as one of the backbones of all SDGs, the Office has addressed SDG 14 as one of the main topics discussed at their annual flagship events such as Sustainable Development Training Forum, Executive Training Course for Policymakers on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and International Mayors Forum. Back in 2019, the UNOSD held the side-event at UNFCCC COP25 in partnership with Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) titled “Towards a Plastic-Free ASEM – 3R Practices in Asia and Europe” to explore practical examples of local initiatives to reduce plastic waste in Asia and Europe.

The MOF of ROK has strived to prepare the foundation for the sustainable management of marine environments in Korea and to achieve SDG 14 at the national level. To tackle the marine plastic pollution in Korea, the Ministry rolled out efforts to reduce marine plastics, such as through the supply of eco-friendly buoys, and established the master plan on marine waste in 2021. Korea has set an ambitious target to cut marine plastic pollution by 60% by 2030 and have zero plastic waste from Korea in the oceans by 2050. In September 2022, “The 7th International Marine Debris Conference” is going to be held through collaboration of the MOF and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in Busan, Korea.

This side-event at the 2022 Ocean Conference aims to identify and scale up practical and innovative solutions and actions to address marine plastic pollution that is being implemented by various stakeholders to accelerate the implementation of SDG 14. With the recent decision at UNEA-5, it will act as a timely platform for policy dialogues to discuss transformative approaches in responding to the devastating marine plastic pollution. The aims are also perfectly in line with the main themes of the Conference in terms of fostering evidence-based solution finding and innovative thinking to accelerate the achievement of SDG 14.

The event will gather experts from governments, international organizations, civil societies, and academia will deliver diverse perspectives on marine plastic pollution with science and evidence-based insights, policy and business solutions to tackle marine plastic challenges. The event is expected to encourage the participants to gain knowledge on marine plastic pollution, find science-based options to prevent and stop marine plastics, and ultimately engage in global ocean action actively while highlighting actions and progress made by the Republic of Korea and the UNDP Ocean Innovation Challenge in catalyzing technology, policy, and other innovations to reduce marine pollution.


Official Documents

Concept Note (updated as of 27 June 2022)


Event Page/Recording

UNDP Event Page


Format, Date & Time

The side event will be held on Wednesday, 29 June 2022 from 4:00pm to 5:15pm at the Committee Room, Altice Arena, Lisbon, Portugal. The event will be held in a hybrid-format to promote highest level of interaction among the speakers and participants.



This side-event at the UN Ocean Conference aims to:

  • Sharing the up-to-date scientific findings about marine plastic pollution;
  • Introducing examples of science-based solutions to combat the marine plastic problems by governments and businesses;
  • Discussing practical yet ambitious policy measures on addressing marine plastic pollution at global and national level; and
  • Strengthening and building capacity of participants in understanding the status and the impacts of plastic on the ocean and in planning the way forward



High-Level Opening Session:  

  • H.E. Anders Gronvall, State Secretary to Minister for Climate Change and the Environment, Sweden
  • Mr. Sang-Keun Song, Vice Minister, Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries of the Republic of Korea
  • Dr. Ibrahim Abdul Latif Al Muslimani, Assistant Undersecretary of Protection and Natural Reserves, Qatar
  • Mr. Haoliang Xu, UN Assistant Secretary General, UNDP Assistant Administrator and Director of the Bureau for Policy and Programme Support

Setting the Stage:

Addressing SDG 14 from the UN Organizations Perspective

  • Dr. Andrew Hudson, Head of UNDP Water and Ocean Governance Programme
  • Mr. Chun Kyoo Park, Head of Office, UNOSD

Marine Plastic Pollution and Marine Life

Solutions to Pollution:

  • Ms. Yukyung Jang, Deputy Director, Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries of the Republic of Korea
  • Mr. Yuvan Beejadhur, Senior Advisor to the Director-General, World Trade Organization
  • Mr. Sefanaia Nawadra, Director General of South Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP)
  • Ms. Kristin Hughes, Director of Global Plastic Action Partnership, World Economic Forum

Panel Discussion (with OIC first cohort innovators)

  • Moderator: Ms. Mina Epps, IUCN, Director Marine and Polar Program



This side event is co-organized by the United Nations Office for Sustainable Development (UNOSD), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries of the Republic of Korea.