The role of the present Issue Paper to the “International Conference on Prevention and Management of Marine Litter in European Seas” is to establish for the conference´s participants a common “starting point”, from where discussions can be taken forward to approach the conference´s main goal: facilitating the establishment or further development of Regional Action Plans (RAPs) on marine litter in the regional seas or Regional Sea Conventions (RSCs) of European waters.
To accomplish this role, the Issue Paper was designed partly as an “open document” – a factual part describing:
• the political background of the conference and its embedding into international obligations and strategies (Chapter 1),
• the up-to-date knowledge about impacts, amounts, consistency and sources of marine litter in European waters (Chapters 2.1 and 2.2),
• overall aims and principles of combating marine litter (Chapter 2.3), and
• the existing framework for actions and initiatives to reduce marine litter inputs into the marine environment (Chapter 3)
This is followed by the presentation of a “toolbox”, presenting successful actions, measures and initiatives, which will be expanded before, during and after the conference (Chapter 4 and Annex I); and by a section which suggests possible questions – regarding the data situation in the respective regional sea, and possible steps to be taken to get closer to a RAP on marine litter, such as possible operational targets and concrete measures and actions – to be discussed at the conference (customized to each regional sea/Regional Sea Convention) (Chapter 5).