Dr Karen Raubenheimer 

Karen Raubenheimer

Office: Australian National Centre for Ocean Resources and Security (ANCORS),
ITAMS, University of Wollongong, NSW, 2522, Australia    


Karen joined ANCORS in January 2017. She obtained her PhD from ANCORS in 2016, focusing on international and regional policy frameworks . Her thesis, titled “Towards an Improved Framework to Prevent Marine Plastic Debris,” analysed measures to prevent ocean- and land-based sources of plastic pollution. The feasibility of a new legally binding international agreement and an associated global funding mechanism was reviewed. After she presented a possible model for such an agreement at the 17th meeting of the United Nations Open-ended Informal Consultative Process on Oceans and the Law of the Sea, titled "Marine debris, plastics and micro-plastics" she was contracted by UNEP to conduct further assessment on the effectiveness of international and regional regulatory frameworks to prevent marine litter and microplastics.

Karen also holds a Master of Environmental Management from the University of New South Wales and has a background in Information Technology. She has worked in Cape Town, London and Sydney as an IT Systems Engineer and Project Manager, consulting to a range of institutions, including the financial sector. While working for Surfrider Foundation Australia as the Operations Manager, she coordinated corporate beach cleans. In her spare time, Karen is an avid underwater photographer and always keeps an eye out for litter both in and out the water.

Research interests:

  • International and regional governance of pollution

  • Policy to enable the Circular Economy

  • Design and regulation of the solid waste hierarchy

  • The interplay between State sovereignty and international conservation

Current Projects:

As part of the United Nations Environment Program “Global Partnership on Marine Litter – Out of sight, out of mind – changing the state of marine litter globally” and Resolution 2/11 (UN document UNEP/EA.2/Res.11), Karen is compiling an assessment of the effectiveness of relevant international, regional and subregional governance strategies and approaches to combat marine plastic litter and microplastics. This assessment will take into consideration the relevant international, regional and subregional regulatory frameworks and identifying possible gaps and options for addressing them. Karen will present the assessment to the United Nations Environment Assembly at its next session, UNEA-3, in December 2017. She also has four papers in prep based on her PhD work.


Raubenheimer, K., McIlgorm, A., 2017. Is the Montreal Protocol a model that can help solve the global marine plastic debris problem? Marine Policy 81, 322-329.

Raubenheimer, K., McIlgorm, A., Can the Basel and Stockholm Conventions provide a global framework to reduce the impact of marine plastic litter? Marine Policy (in press).


Last reviewed: 2 March, 2018