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Remarks at Launch of the Group of Friends to Combat Marine Plastic Pollution

Launch of the Group of Friends to Combat Marine Plastic Pollution - New York, 8 June 2020
Remarks by Mr. Jörundur Valtýsson, Permanent Representative of Iceland

Thank you Madame Chair. Ministers, Excellencies,

First, I would like to thank Norway, the Maldives and Antigua and Barbuda for taking the initiative to form a Group of Friends to combat marine plastic pollution. As an island nation highly dependent on healthy oceans and sustainable use of marine resources, we very much appreciate the focus you are bringing to the issue here in New York.

Iceland currently holds the chairmanship of the Arctic Council, in which the marine environment is a top priority. We hope to agree on a regional action plan to reduce marine litter in the Arctic Marine Environment, including microplastics, during our chairmanship, and to host an international symposium on the threat of plastics to Arctic marine ecosystems in Iceland - as soon as the present situation related to COVID-19 improves.

This work was leveraged by priorities during our presidency in the Nordic Council of Ministers last year. There, we prioritized the ocean and blue growth in the North and put emphasis, among other, on blue innovation and the threat of plastics to the marine environment.

One of the main projects launched, NordMar Plastics, focuses on developing a joint methodology for measuring the extent of plastic in the marine environment, and aims at increasing awareness on the impact of plastics, for example by creating educational material for children.

These are some examples of regional initiatives that demonstrate the importance Iceland attaches to ocean affairs, which also remain high on our agenda at the United Nations.

I thank the hosts again for this timely event – we look forward to a fruitful and productive co-operation with all of you.

Thank you and Happy World Oceans Day.


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