This year, the ASEAN-Japan Centre is implementing the “Future Leaders’ Declaration on ASEAN-Japan Cooperation for International Marine Plastic Waste” project, which is the first attempt to adopt and present a student-initiated declaration on the issue of international marine plastic waste between Japan and ASEAN member countries.
In order to formulate the Future Leaders’ Declaration on ASEAN-Japan Cooperation for International Marine Plastic Waste, the Center, together with 22 undergraduate and graduate students selected from Japan and 10 ASEAN member countries, held three preparatory sessions (the first session was held on November 14, 2020; the second session on November 28, 2020; and the third session on December 12, 2020) to discuss and draft issues and proposals/recommendations on international marine plastic waste to be included in the declaration. Through each session, the students hereinafter referred to as “Fellows” had grasped the current status of international marine plastic litter and deepened their knowledge and awareness of the issue. They also engaged in lively and future-oriented discussions in their respective fields of expertise, and agreed on the draft declaration during the third preparatory session on December 12. This session was filmed by NHK International, a general incorporated association.
A summary of the discussions in the three preparatory sessions is provided below (please also refer to the attached English program).
1. First Preparatory Session
Five subcommittees (1) Natural Science, (2) Technological Innovation, (3) Policy, (4) Capacity Building, and (5) Empowerment were established. Professor ISOBE Atsuhiko of Kyushu University and 4 staff members of the Centre acted as facilitators for each subcommittee, and facilitated the discussion regarding marine plastic waste based on the students’ respective fields of expertise.
2. Second Preparatory Session
At the beginning of the session, Prof. ISOBE gave a lecture on the “Current Status and Future of Marine Plastic Waste”. Afterwards, representatives (hereinafter referred to as Rapporteurs)2 of each of the five subcommittees reported on the contents of each subcommittee discussion in the First Preparatory Session. Based on this, each subcommittee reached consensus on items and issues that would be the main provisions to be included in the declaration.
3. Third Preparatory Session
At the beginning of the session, the Rapporteurs3 of each subcommittee summarized the contents discussed in the First and Second Preparatory Sessions. In the Plenary Session, they adjusted the wording of each article in the draft declaration and discussed the issues that the students particularly attached importance to. As a result, the draft was generally agreed upon at the end of the meeting, Prof. ISOBE presented the following message to the students: “This project is the first step for the students to tackle the problem of marine plastic waste, and I hope that each of you will continue to deepen your research topics and interests and work to solve the problem on a global scale.”
In order to obtain support for this declaration, we will hold the Launch Ceremony of the Future Leaders’ Declaration on ASEAN-Japan Cooperation for International Marine Plastic Waste on March 16, 2021 and will be inviting ASEAN-Japan government agencies, relevant international organizations, and private companies.