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The Norwegian Development Program to Combat Marine Litter and Microplastics

Updated February 2020

In 2018, the Norwegian government launched a new development programme to combat marine litter and microplastics. The programme is intended to contribute to Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14.1 which states that by 2025, the world should prevent and significantly reduce marine pollution of all kinds.

(The Program in pdf)

At the third UN third Environmental Assembly (UNEA 3) in 2017, the world’s environmental ministers agreed on a vision to eliminate the discharge of litter and microplastics to the oceans over time. The Norwegian Development Program will follow-up that vision though concrete initiatives. The UN’s Environmental Assembly also called for enhanced funding to combat marine litter at a global level. 

The Government of Norway will spend 1,6 billion NOK on the development program to combat marine litter and microplastics in the period 2019 to 2022.


The main objective of the Norwegian development program to combat marine litter and microplastics is to prevent and greatly reduce the extent of marine litter from large sources in developing countries.

To achieve this, funding is set to focus on four outcomes:

  1. Management of plastic waste in partner countries is
  2. Selected coastal areas and rivers are cleared of waste and the waste is sustainably managed.
  3. Private sector performance regarding sustainable production and use, and responsible waste management, is
  4. Global commitments and national and regional instruments to prevent marine litter are strengthened..

Which projects are supported, and who are implementing them?

In 2019, about NOK 236 mill. (26 mill. USD) were disbursed to 34 organisations. Among recipients are multilateral organisations as the UN and the World Bank, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and research institutes. Most of these work with governments, the private sector, civil society organisations and/or local populations. A list of all the organisations receiving support, together with a short description of the projects, can be found further down.

Norway supports several different initiatives through these organisations. Contributing to the creation and development of land-based waste management systems is highly prioritised as sound waste management is the most important measure to reduce the supply of litter to the ocean.

Funding is also provided for research which will give knowledge that can contribute to finding solutions to the problem. Furthermore, it is important to support initiatives that contribute to increased awareness about marine litter. Actors with the required technical expertise contribute with training, knowledge exchange and technology transfer. Some initiatives focus on innovation, development of new technology and sustainable products. Other actors receive support to influence and advise on government policies, regulations and action plans. Norway also supports processes to achieve stronger international commitments and agreements to prevent marine litter. Beach clean- ups and other clean-up activities are supported in some cases, and particularly where they can help contribute to increased awareness raising.

Where are the projects implemented?

The focus is on populous and economically fast-growing countries in Asia with long coastlines. This is where the problem of marine litter is the greatest. In addition, preventative measures are directed towards countries with rapidly growing economies in Africa. Small developing island states also receive support for projects to strengthen waste management systems and for clean-ups along the shoreline.

More facts about marine litter

  • Marine litter originates from many different activities and consists of many different types of litter. Land-based waste constitutes the largest source of marine litter. Plastics makes out the largest share of land-based waste. The characteristics of plastic cause it to break down more slowly than cardboard, paper, wood, metal and other materials. It is these characteristics that make it an environmental problem when it goes astray.
  • According to the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP), around 280 million tonnes are produced globally every year, and production increases by around five per cent per year.
  • It is estimated that 8 million tonnes of plastic end up in the ocean each year. This corresponds to 15 tonnes of plastics per minute.
  • More than half of the plastic waste that ends up in the ocean is estimated to originate from a few countries in southeast Asia.
  • The United Nations Environmental Assembly is the supreme and governing body of UNEP and meets every other year. Here, the world’s environment ministers meet to agree on joint initiatives and declarations related to international environmental issues.
  • The United Nations Environmental Assembly has adopted four resolutions on marine litter and microplastics. These resolutions emphasise that improved waste management and waste prevention are key to combating marine litter and must be given top priority.
  • Through these resolutions, it is also agreed that the world must eliminate emissions of waste and microplastics to the sea (the zero vision). As of today, there is no global environmental agreement to deal with marine litter in a comprehensive manner.
  • Norway is working for stronger global commitments to prevent and reduce marine litter.
Marine litter originates from many different activities. Credit: Grid, Arendal
Marine litter originates from many different activities. Credit: Grid, Arendal

Table - Overview of Projects supported by the Norwegian Development Program to Combat Marine Litter and Microplastics

Updated February 2020









Contact Details

Plastic Waste Free Islands


3 years, Dec 2018 to Dec 2021.

61 000 000

St Lucia, Grenada and Antigua and Barbuda in the Caribbean, and Fiji, Vanuatu and Samoa in the Pacific. More island states can later be considered

Reduce the amount of plastic litter produced and, at the same time improve waste management in general. Specific measures will be prepared for each of the three sectors, fisheries, tourism and waste management. Emphasis will be placed on recycling and alternative use of plastic waste and to develop businesses based on this

Minna Epps:
[email protected]


Joao Sousa:
[email protected]


Support administered by Norad








Ocean Plastic Turned into an Opportunity in Circular Economy (OPTOCE)


3 years, Dec 2018 to Dec 2021.

45 885 720

China, India, Myanmar, Vietnam and Thailand

With the help of public-private partnerships, litter shall be collected from polluted land areas (hotspots), larger rivers and beaches. Experiments will be carried out where non-recyclable materials will be energy-recovered and replace other energy sources such as coal. Cement ovens, (“kilns”) which provide the most combustion, will be preferred This kind of practice will increase the handling capacity for litter, and reduce the need for landfills and regular incineration, reducing the consumption of fossil fuels and the emission of greenhouse gases.

Lessons learned from the project will be shared through a regional forum

Kåre Helge Karstensen:
[email protected]


Support administered by Norad








Sound management, prevention and minimization of plastic waste

Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm (BRS)


2 years, Dec 2018 to Dec 2020

15 000 000

Bangladesh and Ghana

Prevent, and significantly reduce marine litter and microplastics from sources in partner countries. The project has three components:

1) plastic waste crossing national borders (global trade),
2) environmentally sound management of plastic waste and
3) management of sources of plastic waste

Kei Ohno:
kei.ohno-[email protected]


Support administered by Norad








Further actions to address plastic waste under the Basel Convention

Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm (BRS)


3 years, Jan 2020 to Dec 2020

60 700 000

Global, support is provided to countries that are listed on the DAC list of ODA recipients in considerations on plastic waste under the Basel Convention

Prevent and significantly reduce marine plastic litter, including microplastics, from sources in partner countries.

The project is designed to increase knowledge among decision-makers on the control of transboundary movements and environmentally sound management of plastic waste in line with the provisions, guidelines and guidance of the

Basel Convention, in particular the Plastic Waste Amendment adopted at the Basel Convention COP-14

Kei Ohno:
kei.ohno-[email protected]


Frank Moser:
[email protected]


Support administered by Norad








No Plastics in Nature

WWF Norge

3 years, July 2018 to Dec 2021

96 440 108

Global. City projects in China, the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand, and Hong Kong.

Programme development is also being planned in Africa

To achieve no plastics in nature by 2030. At a global policy level, WWF is pushing for the adoption of a legally binding agreement to eliminate marine plastic pollution. At a corporate level, WWF works with Consumer Goods companies at global and national levels to engage businesses to solve the plastic waste issue. At a cities level, WWF aims at eliminating plastic leakage in 25 cities and initiate a global movement for Plastic Pollution Free Cities

Stefan Norris:
[email protected]


Andrew Fitzgibbon:
[email protected]


Support administered by Norad








Clean Oceans through Clean Communities

Avfall Norge

3 years, Dec 2018 to June 2022

39 750 000

Indonesia. Other possible countries are Vietnam, Cambodia, India + countries in Africa

Reduce emissions of plastics to the ocean through improved waste management through:

Training programmes focused on system understanding and waste management plans.

Support with the preparation and implementation of locally adapted waste management plans.

Start-up support for projects working to increase the use of collected waste to its highest possible value. Networking for participants from different geographical areas and other relevant actors

Sigve Ånderå:
[email protected]


Support administered by Norad








The Nansen Programme


2 years, Jan 2019 to Dec 2021

12 000 000

Along the Atlantic coast of Africa, parts of East- Africa and four countries in the Bay of Bengal

Promote knowledge on the occurrence of marine litter and microplastics in marine ecosystems in order to contribute to a better policy and practice in the area

Merete Tandstad:
[email protected]


Support administered by Norad








The Global Environment Facility


4 years, July 2018 to June 2022

40 000 000

Individual country projects and regional projects

Support projects that will avoid marine plastic from entering the ocean. The GEF intends to support projects working mostly on circular economy and more upstream in the production chain. There will also be a link to chemicals which are related to marine litter

Leah Bunce Karrer:
[email protected]


Support administered by Norad








Marine Litter and Microplastics


3 years, 2019 to 2021

90 000 000

Asia, Africa and SIDS-countries

Be the custodian agency for two indicators of the first target of SDG 14 (Life Below Water), where the first of these is directly linked to marine litter, 14.1: By 2025, prevent and significantly reduce marine pollution of all kinds, in particular from land-based activities, including marine debris and nutrient pollution. This includes mapping of emerging issues, strengthening global and regional coordination and cooperation, and assistance to member countries in their development and implementation of national policies and programmes

Heidi Savelli:
[email protected] (for marine litter)


Kati Autere:
[email protected] (for the UNEP-secretariat)


Support administered by Norad








Grid-Arendal support 2019-2020


2 years, 2019 to 2020.

20 000 000

Global and Africa

Development and implementation of global and national policies to reduce waste and marine litter and their impact on the environment, through UNEA and the Basel Convention and various expert working groups on waste and marine litter. Regional policy development and implementation for waste water and sanitation, marine litter, and circular economy. This has a particular focus on African countries

Peter Harris:
[email protected]


Miles Macmillan-Lawler
miles.macmillan- [email protected]


Support administered by Norad









The Research Council of Norway


years, disburse ment made in 2019

20 000 000


Strengthen research knowledge on marine litter and pollution in Asia, where the challenges are greatest. Communication of research findings with relevant actors should also be provided to achieve a knowledge-based policy design, legislation and implementation of measures that address marine pollution and littering

Marit Heller:
[email protected]


Inger-Ann Ulstein:
[email protected]


Support administered by Norad








Marine Pollution Enforcement Project Phase II


3 years, Jan 2019 to Dec 2021

11 100 000

Coastal developing countries, with a particular focus on central origin countries of marine litter, as well as countries where marine litter is an increasing challenge

Improve sea quality by reducing marine litter and marine pollution. The project will strengthen global, regional and national law enforcement responses to prevent and reduce marine pollution crime from sea- and land-based sources. This will be achieved by strengthening investigations in developing countries, delivering capacity building and training activities, coordinating support to law enforcement operations and strengthening cooperation between countries by giving support to the Pollution Crime Enforcement Community

Lionel Try:
[email protected]


Davyth Stewart:
[email protected]


Support administered by Norad








Building Support for a Binding Multilateral Agreement on Plastic Pollution in the African and Pacific Island Regions

Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) UK

1 year, Sept 2019 to June 2020

1 466 555

Africa and the Pacific Island region

Provide capacity-building support to governments in the African and Pacific Islands Regions on marine litter, microplastic, and the international process on a global agreement on marine litter

Clare Perry:
[email protected] international.org


Support administered by Norad








Building Partnerships to Assist Developing Countries to Address the Issue of Marine Plastic Litter from Sea-based Sources (GloLitter Partnerships)

International Maritime Organisation (IMO)/FAO


years, Jan 2020 to June 2023

40 000 000

30 developing countries. 10 Lead Partnering Countries and 20 Partnering Countries will be selected from Asia, Africa, Caribbean, Latin America and Pacific during the inception phase of the project (the first six months)

Enable developing countries to effectively implement and enforce international regulatory frameworks, as well as best practice for prevention, reduction and control of Sea Based Marine Plastic Litter (SBMPL) through capacity building, policy making, action planning, practical steps in reducing dumping of fishing gear and legislative developments

IMO: Jose Matheickal:
[email protected]


FAO: Raymon van Anrooy:
[email protected]


Support administered by Norad








Ending Plastic Pollution Innovation Challenge (EPPIC)

UNDP Viet Nam

2.5 years, Jan 2020 to June 2022

14 256 000

Indonesia, Philippines, Viet Nam, Thailand and Cambodia. Four countries will be selected to host innovation challenges

Contribute to reduction of plastic pollution in coastal areas in four Asean target countries initially and all Asean-countries in the long term, by supporting local innovations to prevent plastic from entering the ocean with one-year innovation challenges in four different countries

Dao Xuan Lai:
[email protected]


Support administered by Norad









World Bank

7 years, 2019 to 2026

110 000 000

Global impact area, but will focus on East Asia, South Asia, Africa and Small Island Developing States (SIDS).

Prevent and reduce marine litter and pollution, as well as contribute to the rehabilitation of coastal and marine ecosystems. (Pillar 2 of the fund.) This will be accomplished through knowledge development and sharing, country-level support and investments in activities that prevent marine litter and pollution

Delphine Arri:
[email protected]

Support administered by MFA








The Potential Human Health Impacts of Microplastic in the Environment


2 years, 2018 to 2019

4 000 000


Assess the current state of knowledge on the occurrence of microplastics in the environment, consequent human exposure and potential health impacts. Draw conclusions where feasible and identify data gaps and research needs. The most significant research questions associated with the topic of potential toxicity of ingested micro- and nanoplastics will be assessed, with a special focus on drinking water, but also other routes of exposure. Given the specific questions raised about microplastics and drinking-water, with respect to prevention and control, the evidence will be reviewed on removal of microplastics from drinking water and wastewater treatment and prevention of microplastic contamination in water sources

Michael Hinsch:
[email protected]
(Focal point for the project)


Jennifer de France:
[email protected]
(Technical cooperation for the drinking water component)


Support administered by MFA








Establishment of a Programme on Marine Litter and Microplastics


1 year, Dec 2018 to Dec 2019

1 043 000


Map and identify the extent of marine plastic litter along the coast of Mozambique. Type of waste and its source, impact on ecosystems and the natural environment, as well as the extent of microplastics in the coastal zones shall be included in the survey. The current political and economic framework in Mozambique is to be assessed, with the aim of suggesting possible improvements and measures to reduce plastic litter. Prototypes of sewage networks and other suitable measures will be developed to reduce and prevent litter in the sea

Carlos Manuel dos Santos Serra:

[email protected]

Diana Carvalho:
[email protected]


Support administered by the Norwegian embassy in Maputo








Using Community Cookers to Prevent and Reduce Marine Litter

Community Cooker Foundation

2 years,

2019 to


2 656 000

Nairobi + along the coast of Kenya

Improve health indicators among workers, create jobs, reduce local open fire rubbish burning, decrease pollution on land and in the sea. The cookers burn plastics in an environmentally friendly way, and the heat from the cookers is used for baking, cooking and heating water

Wakina Mutembei:
[email protected] kenya.com


Support administered by the Norwegian embassy in Nairobi








The Multi-Donor Trust Fund for Indonesia Oceans, Marine Debris, and Coastal Resources

World Bank

3 years, Nov 2017 to Nov 2020

21 500 000


Provide technical assistance, analytical support, pilot activities and financing to assist the Government of Indonesia in developing and implementing its National Oceans Agenda, including support to achieving the country’s targets for reduction of marine debris and ocean plastic

Anita Kendrick:
[email protected]


Support administered by the Norwegian embassy in Jakarta








Stop Marine Plastic


3 years, May 2018 to April 2021

30 000 000

Muncas, East- Java, Indonesia

Design, implement and scale up circular economy solutions to marine plastic pollution. Collection of all plastic waste from households and business, initiate behavior change activities for households to separate waste, improve the integrated solid waste processing station facilities, beach clean-ups. The project partners with Banyuwangi Regency (Directorate of Environment Unit) to build effective, circular waste management systems that eliminate leakage of plastic into the ocean, increase resource efficiency and provide socio-economic benefits for local communities

Joi Danielson:
[email protected]


Support administered by the Norwegian embassy in Jakarta








Bali Partnership on Marine Debris Action


2 years, Dec 2018 to Aug 2020

7 029 762

Bali, Indonesia

Build a scientific backbone and alignment across the many Balinese stakeholders, finding out where and why plastic is entering waterways and pinpoint sub- districts in highest need of intervention

Joi Danielson:
[email protected]


Support administered by the Norwegian embassy in Jakarta








Asean-Norwegian Capacity Building Project for Reducing Plastic Pollution (AseanO)

NIVA (together with Center for Southeast Asian Studies (CSEAS))

4 years, Jan 2019 to June 2022

26 500 000

Asean-countries. Case studies will initially take place in Indonesia and the Philippines, and might be extended to Thailand and Viet Nam

Build sufficient knowledge and capacity for the Asean to tackle plastic pollution from key industries and business sectors by developing and testing sound reduction measures, in close collaboration with main target groups such as industry, government (local, national, regional – Asean and national governments) and civil society. AseanO will make the stakeholders better suited to set viable targets, consolidate efforts in the region and monitor progress

Thorjørn Larssen:
[email protected]

Support administered by the Norwegian embassy in Jakarta








Building Movement for Indonesia Marine Debris

Yayasan Ekosistem Nusantara Berkelanjutan (EcoNusa Foundation)

1 year, Nov 2019 to Oct 2020

1 860 000


Achieve higher awareness in the Indonesian public, especially among young people, of the importance of reducing marine debris and that individual action can make a difference, so that substantial amounts of debris and plastic will be removed from beaches and shores

Bustar Maitar:
[email protected]


Support administered by the Norwegian embassy in Jakarta








Creating Strong Ecosystem to Implement Circular Economy in Indonesia

Greeneration Foundation

1 year, Oct

2019 to Oct 2020

1 140 000


Promote sustainable business practices through circular economy business models from best practices across Indonesia and abroad. Work to generate the commitment and collaboration of high-level decision makers and grassroot actors to implement waste management solutions as well as data collection, management, and monitoring systems, with the generated knowledge openly shared through the online platform Bebassampah.id

Vanessa Letizia:
[email protected]

Support administered by the Norwegian embassy in Jakarta








Support Facility Project for Marine Plastic Litter Reduction Acceleration Secretariat

UNDP Indonesia

3 years, Nov 2019 to Oct 2022

5 050 000


Strengthen the Secretariat’s capacity to coordinate and facilitate five task force units aimed at integrating and synergising action plans to reduce marine debris. Increase public and targeted stakeholders’ awareness on the importance of taking concrete action to reduce marine debris

Christophe Bahuet:
[email protected]


Support administered by the Norwegian embassy in Jakarta








Towards Zero Plastics to the Seas of Africa

SST (Sustainable Seas Trust)

5 years, April 2019 to March 2024

39 700 000

Mapping of physical catchment areas will be carried out in South Africa, Kenya, Madagascar,

Protect and conserve ocean resources by reducing the flow of plastic pollution to the oceans off the coasts of Africa. First outcome: reduce the flow of plastic pollution to the Nelson Mandela Bay, South Africa, by 90% compared to 2019

Tony Ribbink:
[email protected]


Stacy Webb:
[email protected]





Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles and Tanzania. The scope also includes the 38 African coastal states of the African Marine Waste Network, and countries associated with the Nairobi and Abidjan conventions.

baseline. Second outcome: share and replicate the methodology used at Nelson Mandela Bay in at least one catchment area in the countries mentioned to the left in this table. Third outcome: disseminate information on this methodology and lessons learned broadly throughout Africa

Support administered by the Norwegian embassy in Pretoria.








Building knowledge to Combat Marine Litter

Funbio, with technical expertise from Oceanographi c Institute of University of São Paulo, State of São Paulo, and participation of Unesco Chair on Ocean Sustainability

1 year, Aug 2019 to Aug 2020

1 241 800

The State of São Paolo, Brazil

Develop a long-term strategy for monitoring and assessing the marine litter in the State of São Paulo, Brazil, and to improve a multisector stakeholder engagement. Effective communication will be established between science and management to aggregate initiatives and create opportunities for collective learning and informed decision- making

Daniela Leite:
[email protected]


Alexander Turra:
[email protected]


Support administered by the Norwegian embassy in Brasilia.








Scaling Up a Socialised Model of Domestic Waste and Plastic Management in Five Cities

UNDP Vietnam

3 years, 2019 to 2021

8 800 000

Five cities in Vietnam: Ha Long Bay, Quy Nhon, Binh Thuan Binh Duong and Da Lat

To contribute to environmental protection in five target cities, enhance the recognition of the informal sector and the linkages between the informal and formal sector in Vietnam, enhance capacity and actions by the government authorities, contribute to poverty reduction for targeted groups and create and promote innovation and information platforms

Dao Xuan Lai:
[email protected]


Support administered by the Norwegian embassy in Hanoi








Plastic Pollution and Marine Litter Prevention: Advocacy through Empowerment, Narrative Change and Data Building

Association Zero Zbel

2 years, Dec 2019 to Dec 2021

1 100 000

Morocco, Africa

Support evidence-based advocacy (government and private sector) through waste audits along river basins, and awareness raising around marine litter, as well as creating a network of committed actors in the waste management field

Mamoun Ghallab:
[email protected]


Soukaïna El Idrissi:
[email protected] m


Support administered by the Norwegian embassy in Rabat








Building Resilience in the Eastern Caribbean through Reduction of Marine Litter and Pollution (ReMLiP)

Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States Commission (OECS)

3 years, 2019 to 2021

27 000 000

Eastern Caribbean, includes the following countries: Antigua and Barbuda, Dominic a, Grenada, Montserrat, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

Strengthen global commitments and national and regional instruments to prevent marine litter, increase awareness of issues related to marine litter, harmonise policies and legislation for effective management and reduction of waste, as well as on-the-ground interventions in the participating countries

Chamberlain Emmanuel:
[email protected]nt


David Robin:
[email protected]

Susanna DeBeauville-Scott:
susanna.d[email protected]

Support administered by the Norwegian embassy in Havana








Integrated Approach towards Sustainable Plastics Use and (Marine) Litter Prevention in Bangladesh

United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO)

3 years, Jan 2020 to Dec 2022

38 000 000


Start the development and deployment of an integrated approach to sustainable plastic use and marine litter prevention for reduced environmental impact, enhanced productivity and innovation. The expected outcome is strengthened policy framework, improved capacity and enhanced responsibility and action of key stakeholders towards sustainable plastic use and litter prevention in Bangladesh

Zaki Uz Zaman:
[email protected]


Rene Van Berkel
[email protected]


Support administered by the Norwegian embassy in Dhaka








India-Norway Cooperation Project on Capacity Building for Reducing Plastic and Chemical Pollution in India

Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA)


years, Jan 2020 to June 2022

30 000 000

India. Catchment areas of rivers Tapti and Daman Ganga in the cities of Surat and Vapi (both in Gujarat state of India)

Address highly interlinked and key challenges regarding marine litter, micro-plastics and Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs).

Investigate land sources, river fluxes and ocean input of plastic and POPs pollution. Contribute with knowledge-based science and build capacity of government agencies like the state and central pollution control boards and other stakeholders for reduction of impacts of plastic pollution and the new POPs listed under the Stockholm Convention

Eirik H. Steindal:
[email protected]


Support administered by the Norwegian embassy in New Delhi








Coordinating and Providing a Common Platform for India- Norway Marine Pollution Initiative: Role of UN Environment



3 years, Dec 2019 to Dec 2022

8 784 211


Improve the management of marine pollution in India and support India to actively engage globally on this issue. UNEP New Delhi will play the role of a knowledge coordinator and advisor in the India-Norway Marine

Pollution Initiative

Atul Bagai: [email protected]


Support administered by the Norwegian embassy in New Delhi