by Ellen Putri Edita and Fusanori Iwasaki • 9 October 2019

The 15th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on the Environment and Related Meetings were held in Siem Reap, Kingdom of Cambodia from 7 to 11 October 2019. A delegation from the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA), headed by its President, Prof Hidetoshi Nishimura, participated in two meetings: ASEAN-Japan Ministerial Dialogue on Environmental Cooperation and the 16th ASEAN Plus Three Environment Ministers Meeting (16th APT EMM).

Prof Nishimura delivered a presentation about the establishment of the Regional Knowledge Centre for Marine Plastic Debris (RKC-MPD) by ERIA to respond to ideas from several global and regional initiatives on marine plastic issues, including the G20 Energy and Environment Ministers’ Meeting on Marine Litter, the ASEAN+3 Marine Plastic Debris Cooperative Action Initiative, and the ASEAN Framework of Action on Marine Debris. The RKC-MPD itself consists of four major activities, namely developing RKC-MPD Foundation, sharing knowledge, raising awareness and building capacity, as well as collecting and analysing information. ERIA is currently developing a website on marine plastic debris that will serve as a knowledge sharing platform.

Prof Nishimura was confident that ERIA will be able to play a key role in the knowledge sharing activities because this institution has performed comprehensive research focusing on waste management, circular economy, and marine debris in recent years. Further, he explained that the website will provide data from each country in the context of better waste management, such as sustainable waste collection, recycling technology, and good policies. It is expected that this knowledge centre can be used by people from across the region to learn good practices from other countries in the region.

At the end of his presentation, Prof. Nishimura asked for support and guidance from ASEAN member countries as well as Japan, China, and the Republic of Korea for the development of the website and the overall RKC-MPD activities in the future as part of region-wide efforts to tackle the issue of marine plastic debris.