The GCRF Plastics Pollution Governance Framework Network

Lead Research Organisation: University of Nairobi
Department Name: Studies in Environmental Law & Policy

Abstract

This network will focus on regulatory frameworks for plastics pollution globally and how they can inform its governance in six DAC countries, i.e. Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda. Plastics pollution involves the accumulation of plastic debris (micro, meso or macro) in the environment that adversely affects humans. While plastics pollution has risen rapidly up the scale of global environmental concerns, its gravity to ill health related to air, water and soil pollution has not been captured in relevant policies in the six and many other DAC listed countries. A comprehensive attempt to address this will require an interdisciplinary approach using basic and applied research as well as entrepreneurial innovation. In order to keep pace with environmental pollution as well as changes in policy, technology, and culture, there is a need to build partnerships with people and organizations that are deeply embedded in all facets of the issue. Learning from innovative circular approaches and new governance forms elsewhere, our network will create a fabric of contacts who will provide support, feedback, insight, resources, and information on how to best govern plastics pollution in DAC list countries and contextualize for the six eastern African countries. Harnessing the knowledge and ideas of multiple experts will highlight important research questions and help focus attention on areas considered to be issues of immediate importance for effective governance. Hence, the network will be set across various spatial and temporal scales that involve a series of individuals, institutions, disciplines, industry and the informal sector to: (a) Share knowledge, research, education and training input on types, process, consequences and interventions in plastic pollution; (b) Provide a forum for coordination and dialogue among academics, researchers, policy makers and practitioners from the plastic pollution governance community with a view to advance activities related to the management of plastic pollution in the DAC countries, while identifying and responding to challenges and opportunities; (c) Advise and support teaching and capacity building programs in the DAC countries on best practices in plastic pollution governance; (d) Bring to the attention of DAC countries state-of-the-art research and academic trends on global plastic pollution management, or write white papers on any of related topics, and also offer training/ education in this field; (e) Create a platform for members to share key problems and areas of research that are of high interest to local, national and regional organizations within DAC countries; (f) Address governance, data management, institutional, technology adoption and sustainability issues related to the management of plastic pollution; (g) Undertake measures in plastic pollution management that are able to contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN and other global (e.g. Aichi Targets) and regional (e.g. African Union Agenda 2063) goals as appropriate; (h) Undertake activities that foster collaboration between universities and research groups at an international level, including to identify and address common research topics and overarching trends; and (i) Promote and encourage close collaboration between knowledge communities and their national counterparts concerned with plastic pollution governance. As a means to capture and include the role and contributions of scholars and practitioners in global plastics pollution management, we have identified a list of 'champions' who will provide strategic knowledge, research, training and case study experiences to assist in generating governance ideas. These champions will snowball the Network around globally and, in the DAC, listed countries through the networking activities. This will be achieved through a variety of strategies including workshops, Round Tables, mainstream and social media, and 'virtual' networking events.

Planned Impact

Impact on society and the economy will be achieved by the involvement of and dissemination to stakeholders in the plastics and waste industry, government (local and central) and advocacy groups and NGOs in combination with academics. Support has already been sought from organisations and to date includes: the Kenyan Association of Manufacturers, Client Earth, the Product Life Institute, UK Environmental Law Association, UN Environment, The Ocean Foundation amongst others. Starting with this core of activists, the project will build the network and establish clear channels of communication to build a firm foundation for future growth and a clear pathway to impact in terms of meeting the global health challenge posed by the extensive use of plastics. Impact will be achieved by inclusion of key stakeholders in the network which, in the 2 years of the project, will be the primary pathway to impact. The work of the project is to build the network by bringing key players into membership so that channels of communication are opened within and across nations and regions. Key aspects of the work of the Network Director and Co-Director will be to engage key stakeholders facilitated by the Network Manager.
Policy engagement
Our network will have at its heart partnerships with stakeholders which will give us real-life examples to work on and which will also provide access to these organisations' networks of policy contacts. We plan targeted publications including policy briefings, industry journal articles and on-line materials on our website which present our findings in a format that is accessible to policy-makers. We will seek to use the network to provide advisory roles, such as contributing to government inquiries, reports, panels and committees. We see the network as developing on a snowball basis with a membership structure providing support and advice to members in terms of their engagement in policy initiatives.
Public engagement
The general public is an important group to engage with as the ultimate actors to eliminate plastics waste. Through their behaviours such as consumer choice, waste management, and political voice, individuals have a vital role on the uptake and implementation of any intervention. Consequently, the general public will be integrated in our project throughout, from incorporating their perspectives (e.g. as participants in research) to keeping them informed. We will do this by using social media to advertise the work of the project and setting up a Facebook page. Schools and local colleges will be integrated into the project so as to engage young people.
Academic impact will be achieved through multidisciplinary team working alongside other non-academic stakeholders that will achieve excellence in relation to the advances in understanding, method, theory and application in dealing with the challenge of plastics across and within disciplines. Surrey's Special Interest Group (SIG) on Plastics in the Environment led by network member and 'champion' Professor Richard Murphy will support the project disseminating results and information using its media, academic, professional and industrial contacts to maximise impact.The Sustainability Strategic Research Theme and Plastics SIG will fully support the GCRF Plastics Pollution Governance Framework Network. As part of this the Theme/Plastics SIG is committed to assisting the
Network via co-funding (up to £7,500 in the university's financial years 2018/19 and 2019/20) in order to
support and facilitate the Network's workshops, seminars and staff exchanges.
 
Title Blog posts and video broadcasts 
Description In collaboration with the Wicked Problem of Plastics and the Discourse Surrounding its Governance Project, the GCRF Plastic Pollution Network Project disseminates blog posts and short videos (3-10 minute)through weekly broadcasts. The videos and blog posts are focused on different aspects of plastic pollution. 
Type Of Art Artistic/Creative Exhibition 
Year Produced 2021 
Impact The weekly videos and blog posts have prompted diverse responses from Network members, which are likely to result into behaviour change. 
URL https://www.facebook.com/plasticsgov/
 
Description The past 2 years has seen the Network membership growing to 186 - including individuals, industry, government institutions, Universities and NGOs. In addition, the Project designed and executed a case study research on the nexus between the concepts of communication and legal framework in the contexts of plastics governance. Seven research
teams were built up in in Ethiopia, Jamaica, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda. Key research findings were presented in the Sand Box in June 2021. The research findings particularly those with key recommendations for plastic pollution governance were later presented in the National roundtables. Five roundtables were organised for Jamaica, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda and Uganda to build a common understanding towards an effective and harmonized plastic pollution governance framework among national
stakeholders.
The Network presented its findings in conferences such as the annual conference of the European Environmental Law Forum 2021; YHYS Colloquium, Sustainable Welfare in the workshop on Sustainability Transitions in Plastic Ecosystems: The Role of Law and Ethics, at the University of Aalto; and online public conference on the Global Governance of Plastic Pollution: Transforming the Global Plastics Economy in August 2021. Other Project's outputs such as short videos and blog posts, were disseminated through weekly broadcasts.
Exploitation Route The GCRF Plastics Pollution Governance Framework Network and the Wicked Problem of Plastics and the Discourse Surrounding its Governance Project are pulling together to prepare a documentary film on plastic pollution, and embed it with online education modules particularly those targeting the youth, advocacy groups and policy makers. This initiative will build on the project impact by reinforcing a culture of zero-waste. The documentary video and online education modules will be anchored on a suitable platform (e.g. UNEP) to enhance their impact. Kenya Association of Manufacturers will be closely involved in the production of documentary film and education modules.
Sectors Agriculture, Food and Drink,Education,Environment,Government, Democracy and Justice

URL https://blogs.surrey.ac.uk/governing-plastics-network/
 
Description The GCRF Plastics Pollution Governance Framework Network and the Wicked Problem of Plastics and the Discourse Surrounding its Governance through case studies, policy briefs, roundtables, publications and formal conversations with the partners and stakeholders in plastic pollution governance has improved communication strategies of the Industry (i.e. Kenya Association of Manufacturers) on plastic waste management. The study has also improved the government- industry collaboration. Additionally, the Project has amplified the importance of the collaboration between national and subnational governments in the development of plastic policies and legislations. Furthermore, the Project has highlighted the importance of citizen engagement and the strategic use of social media, symbols and emotional messages in the communication of plastic pollution. As a result, both the government and the industry are reformulating their social media communication messages.
First Year Of Impact 2021
Sector Education,Environment,Government, Democracy and Justice
Impact Types Cultural,Societal,Policy & public services

 
Description Publications and formal conversations with stakeholders in plastic pollution governance
Geographic Reach Multiple continents/international 
Policy Influence Type Contribution to new or Improved professional practice
Impact The case studies, policy briefs, national roundtables, and informal conversations with the industry association (i.e. Kenya Association of Manufacturers) have led to improved waste value chain collaborations through communication messaging on shared responsibilities in addressing plastic pollution. It has also increased the government - industry collaborations in the development of critical solid waste management policy and legal frameworks such as the draft Extended Producer Responsibility Regulations.
 
Description Building collective ownership of single-use plastics waste in youth communities: case studies from Kenya, Jamaica and Malawi
Amount £85,108 (GBP)
Organisation Global Innovation Fund 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 02/2021 
End 03/2022
 
Description The Wicked Problem of Plastics and the Discourse Surrounding its Governance
Amount £54,158 (GBP)
Funding ID AH/T008423/1 
Organisation Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 02/2020 
End 01/2022
 
Description AAU 
Organisation Addis Ababa University
Country Ethiopia 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Research plan and activities
Collaborator Contribution To provide strategic guidance and support to the network and assess the projects' innovation content both in process and methodology to ensure that the network's objectives are met.
Impact To analyse the nexus between communication processes and Plastics Pollution Governance in Ethiopia.
Start Year 2020
 
Description CMU 
Organisation Caribbean Maritime University (Jamaica)
Country Jamaica 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Contribution of GBP 2,200
Collaborator Contribution To provide strategic guidance and support to the network and assess the projects' innovation content both in process and methodology to ensure that the network's objectives are met.
Impact Analyse the nexus between communication processes and Plastics Pollution Governance in Jamaica.
Start Year 2020
 
Description CUM 
Organisation Catholic University of Malawi
Country Malawi 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Contribution of GBP 2,200
Collaborator Contribution To provide strategic guidance and support to the network and assess the projects' innovation content both in process and methodology to ensure that the network's objectives are met.
Impact Analysis of the nexus between communication processes and Plastics Pollution Governance in Malawi
Start Year 2020
 
Description Governing Plastics Network 
Organisation University of Surrey
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Material for use in the website. Linkages to other African Institutions.
Collaborator Contribution Developing and hosting a website.
Impact 1. An active global network 2. Two new joint funding. 3. Linkage with University of West Indies
Start Year 2020
 
Description KAM 
Organisation Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM)
Country Kenya 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution NA
Collaborator Contribution To provide strategic guidance and support to the network and assess the projects' innovation content both in process and methodology to ensure that the network's objectives are met.
Impact Plastics governance in Kenya and communication information.
Start Year 2020
 
Description MU 
Organisation Makerere University
Department School of Public Health
Country Uganda 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Financial support of GBP 2,200
Collaborator Contribution To provide strategic guidance and support to the network and assess the projects' innovation content both in process and methodology to ensure that the network's objectives are met.
Impact Analysis of the nexus between communication processes and Plastics Pollution Governance in Uganda
Start Year 2020
 
Description MWC 
Organisation College of African Wildlife Management
Country Tanzania, United Republic of 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Contribution of GBP 2,200
Collaborator Contribution To provide strategic guidance and support to the network and assess the projects' innovation content both in process and methodology to ensure that the network's objectives are met.
Impact Analyse the nexus between communication processes and Plastics Pollution Governance in Tanzania.
Start Year 2020
 
Description UOB 
Organisation University of Bayreuth
Country Germany 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution NA
Collaborator Contribution To provide strategic guidance and support to the network and assess the projects' innovation content both in process and methodology to ensure that the network's objectives are met.
Impact Analysis of the nexus between communication processes and Plastics Pollution Governance in Malawi
Start Year 2020
 
Description UR 
Organisation University of Rwanda
Country Rwanda 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Contribution of GBP 2,200
Collaborator Contribution To provide strategic guidance and support to the network and assess the projects' innovation content both in process and methodology to ensure that the network's objectives are met.
Impact Analyse the nexus between communication processes and Plastics Pollution Governance in Rwanda
Start Year 2020
 
Description Media debate on plastics and circular economy 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact This was a live debate and my role as a discussant was to provide insights on the impact of academia in achieving a circular economy in Kenya. The discussion expanded to Impacts of university interventions given their mandate on research and aspects that limit the effectiveness of the recycling sector as well as the attainment of circular economy. Discussions then moved to waste management, not be seen as an attractive "profession" and how I encourage the youth to be involved in waste management and further indulge in innovative ways to manage waste.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description National roundtables on plastic pollution governance 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The Project organised 5 roundtables for Jamaica, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda and Uganda to present key findings of the country-level case studies on the intersection between communication processes and plastic pollution governance. The events built a common understanding towards an effective and harmonized plastic pollution governance framework among national stakeholders.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://www.surrey.ac.uk/surrey-centre-international-and-environmental-law/governing-plastics-networ...
 
Description Participation in the YHYS 2021 Colloquium Sustainable welfare: States and capabilities of transformation. Session 4: Sustainability Transitions in Plastics Ecosystems: The Role of Law and Ethics 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Study participants or study members
Results and Impact The Project participated at the annual conference of the European Environmental Law Forum 2021, YHYS Colloquium, Sustainable Welfare in the workshop on Sustainability
Transitions in Plastic Ecosystems. The workshop spurred renewed interest in circular solutions and suggested the need to generate inclusive policies to support evidence-based management of plastics waste that provides livelihoods to communities and earnings to businesses.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://www.aalto.fi/en/sustainable-welfare?fbclid=IwAR08aNl7PZYC3CDwXTNStXgK0pfSqB2qeSn94WXAfsn_Ssj...
 
Description Sand Box meeting 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The Sand Box meeting highlighted key research findings from the country-level case studies on the nexus between the concepts of communication and legal framework in the contexts of plastics governance. The event prompted the debate on the influence of communication processes on the development of legal framework and implementation processes in partner countries plastic pollution governance.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
 
Description Workshop on use and governance of plastics 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Study participants or study members
Results and Impact This workshop explored issues around the use and governance of plastics, and brought together expertise from a multidisciplinary group of researchers. Selected papers from the workshop were published in the social science journal.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021