Rethinking marine plastics pollution: Science diplomacy and multi-level governance

Macarena Beltran, Benny Tjahjono, Thomas Noto Suoneto, Rakyan Tanjung, Jorge Julião

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Although science diplomacy has been gaining relevance in foreign policy to solve environmental challenges, critical questions concerning what different instruments mean under the term ‘science diplomacy’ and whether science diplomacy does contribute to the progress in solving environmental issues remain unanswered. We explore those questions by linking science diplomacy salient features through documentary analysis of international instruments addressing the plastics pollution in the ocean. We find that from a science diplomacy and multi-level governance perspective, the responsibilities and capabilities of emergent actors of cross-level governance are also important, leading to more attention being paid to changes in the role of national authorities, away from passive leadership to cross-cutting coalitions supported by the salient features of science diplomacy, and redefining dominant discursive approaches that have framed plastics waste.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)237-258
Number of pages22
JournalInternational Review of Administrative Sciences
Issue number1
Early online date4 Jul 2023
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2024

Bibliographical note

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License ( which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access page (


The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This work was supported by the UK Research and Innovation.


  • Science diplomacy
  • multi-level governance
  • environmental governance
  • international relations
  • marine pollution
  • plastics pollution


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