Building capacity in monitoring and assessment of marine pollution: workshops in Algeria and Lebanon

In September 2019, UNEP/MAP organized training workshops in Algeria and Lebanon to support the implementation of the Integrated Monitoring and Assessment Programme of the Mediterranean Sea and Coast (IMAP) and of the Regional Plan on Marine Litter Management, in both countries.

IMAP, which was adopted by the Contracting parties to the Barcelona Convention in 2016, is aimed at providing a quantitative and integrated analysis of the state of the marine and coastal environment in the Mediterranean region, encompassing aspects related to marine litter, biodiversity, non-indigenous species and coastal zones. The programme is based on common regional indicators and on targets pertaining to Good Environmental Status (GES) in the Mediterranean region.

The legally-binding Regional Plan on Marine Litter Management, which entered into force in December 2013, is one of the major achievements of the UNEP/MAP—Barcelona Convention system. It provides a set of measures, including policy and regulatory instruments, and implementation timetables to prevent and reduce the adverse effects of marine litter on the marine and coastal environment.

The Regional Plan notably includes clear obligations regarding — among other aspects —  waste management; closure of illegal dumpsites; shifting to sustainable consumption and production, removal of existing marine litter using environmentally sound practices and clean-up campaigns.

The Athens-based Programme for the Assessment and Control of Marine Pollution in the Mediterranean (MED POL), which provides the main operational thrust of the UNEP/MAP—Barcelona Convention system against land-based pollution, organized the workshops in Algeria and Lebanon as part of its activities in support of the implementation of the Regional Plan on Marine Litter Management and IMAP. The harmonization of implementation was one of the high notes of both workshops.

Workshops in Algeria (Algiers, 4-5 September and 18-19 September 2019)

Under the auspices of the Ministry of the Environment and Renewable Energy of Algeria, MED POL organized the workshops in cooperation with the National Observatory of the Environment and Sustainable Development (ONEDD) and with the support of the EU-funded EcAp MED II and Marine Litter MED project.

Officials, national civil servants and representatives of the public sector, as well as members of academia, the research community and civil society attended the workshops, which focused on the preparation and finalization of the national monitoring programmes for three components of IMAP addressing eutrophication, contaminants and marine litter.

Participants also examined elements pertaining to the "Adopt-a-beach” and “Fishing-for-Litter” pilots that are part of the Regional Plan on Marine Litter Management in the Mediterranean, which includes legally binding obligations related to the Protocol for the Protection of the Mediterranean Sea against Pollution from Land-Based Sources

The workshops demonstrated the need for the full harmonization of approaches and applied methodologies related to the monitoring of IMAP indicators for Eutrophication, Contaminants and Marine Litter at the national level.

Workshop in Lebanon (Beirut, Lebanon, 19-20 September 2019)

The workshop provided support to the team of national experts in connection with the preparation of the monitoring programme of Lebanon under the pollution cluster of the Integrated Monitoring and Assessment Programme (IMAP). 

Fifteen (15) representatives of the National Council for Scientific Research of Lebanon (CNRS-L) and the Ministry of Environment of Lebanon attended the workshop.

The workshop highlighted the need to bolster analytical capabilities in monitoring contaminants in sediment and biota, as well as in seawater.

Date of Article: 
Monday, November 4, 2019