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    Within the United Nations Ocean Decade Laboratories, under the call “A Clean Ocean,” the MAELSTROM team organized the webinar “Inspiring Science and Society to tackle Marine Litter as a UN “satellite activity”. The event was held on November 18th, 2021, during a one-day online seminar which engaged key-international key-sectors: Academia, Industry, Environmental NGOs and Civil society.

    The first webinar section was dedicated to the representatives of multi-scale marine litter related projects and initiatives and presented the outcomes of efforts being implemented worldwide. Speakers represented the following institutions and/or initiatives:

    • World Wildlife Fund Global – Global scale
    • BlueMed Initiative – Regional scale
    • The Portuguese Plastics Pact – National scale
    • World Wildlife Fund Philippines – National scale
    • Open Science Hub (Portugal) – Local-scale
    • marGnet project (Italy) – Local-scale


    The morning part also included a keynote presentation from Thomais Vlachogianni (MIO – ECSDE3 ) on “The importance and challenges of turning science into policies for effective actions to slash marine litter pollution, while also breaking away from a throwaway society”.

    During the afternoon, the webinar followed a participatory approach around the four main topics, which were openly discussed among panellists and participants. The discussion was moderated by the MAELSTROM team and supported by, a technological tool to facilitate participants’ engagement during online events. Topics and questions were focused on the main challenges related to Civic engagement, networking and communication; Stakeholder coordination; Governance and Funding.

    Several key messages arise from the participatory discussion, also as contributions to tackling marine litter in the next decade:

    • There is the need to improve communication to effectively engage and network key-societal actors
    • Civic engagement should be based on a balance among scientific and emotional approaches
    • Stakeholders should be considered agents of knowledge and change
    • Decision-makers and the scientific community must invest in vision alignments and coordinated efforts regarding ML
    • The need to invest in harmonized frameworks from local to global scales
    • Mid- and long-term financial support is crucial to create synergies among good legacies achieved by previous actions
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