The capacity building workshop to support national implementation of the Integrated Monitoring and Assessment Programme (IMAP) was held in Alexandria, Egypt (26-28 February 2018) under the auspices of the Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency (EEAA) of the Ministry of Environment of the Arab Republic of Egypt and the support of the EU-funded EcAp MED II project.
The three-day workshop attracted a high level of participation, including officials and representatives from the different branches of EEAA, public sector, research and academia, civil society and Non-Governmental Organizations. The workshop was also supported by the participation of representative from the SWIM-H2020 Support Mechanism, to ensure synergies and harmonization of the marine litter-related activities in Egypt.
It focused on two components of IMAP, namely Eutrophication (Ecological Objective 5) and Marine Litter (Ecological Objective 10). It also addressed the implementation of the “Adopt-a-beach” and “Fishing-for-Litter” pilot projects envisaged in the Regional Plan on Marine Litter Management in the Mediterranean and supported by the EU-funded Marine Litter MED project. Policy options and alternatives to the reduction of single-use of plastic bags were also presented by UN Environment/MAP.
Eutrophication and Marine Litter experts, representing the UN Environment/Mediterranean Action Plan and its MED POL Programme and the SWIM-H2020 Support Mechanism, presented the methodology and strategy for assessing the marine environment by applying the following IMAP Common Indicators:
Participants in the workshop extensively discussed the IMAP guidance and assessment factsheets, metadata reporting templates, as well as examples of existing monitoring schemes. In additional a field visit was organized where the participants had the opportunity to work on a demo beach marine litter monitoring survey and to be trained on the site selection criteria, the collection and the way to record marine litter items on beaches, the MEDPOL Metadata Templates as well as the processing of the results. Elements for monitoring the Candidate Indicator 24 -Trends in the amount of litter ingested by or entangling marine organisms focusing on selected mammals, marine birds and marine turtles (EO10), were also presented.
The workshop findings highlighted the need for further harmonization of the approaches and the applied methodologies related to monitoring the IMAP indicators for Eutrophication and Marine Litter at national level with the overall objective of rendering these indicators operational the earliest possible. The need for better coordination in the existing national initiatives and activities, deriving also from different projects, was also identified..