Block 2. Circular Economy.
What did we aim at?
The goal of the session was:
- This session aimed at sharing progress made in the Mediterranean region by Contracting Parties of the Barcelona Convention supported by UN Environment – Mediterranean Action Plan (UNEP/MAP) and its Regional Activity Centres in the implementation of the Regional Plan on Marine Litter Management.
- In a second stage of the meeting, other stakeholders active on the topic and region had the chance to exchange and explain their activities, also contributing to the implementation of the Plan.
- Mohamad Kayyal - Programme management officer at MEDPOL, UN Environment/MAP
- Christos Ioakeimidis - MED POL. Monitoring and assessment of marine litter through the UN Environment/MAP System. Activities related to the implementation of adopt-a-beach and fishing-for-litter measures.
- Magali Outters - SCP/RAC. Regional activities related to the prevention of land-based plastic pollution
- Pedro Fernández - SCP/RAC. Activities related to the reduction single-use plastic bags and the promotion of extended producers responsibility in the plastic sector
- Franck Lauwers – REMPEC. Activities related to the provision of Reception Facilities in Ports and the Delivery of Ship-Generated Wastes, as well as Application of Charges at Reasonable Costs for the Use of Port Reception Facilities or, when Applicable, Application of No-Special-Fee System
- Countries delegates (Albania, Algeria, Cyprus, Croatia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Egypt, France, Greece, Israel, Italy, Lebanon, Libya, Malta, Morocco, Montenegro, Monaco, Slovenia, Spain, Syria, Tunisia and Turkey). Countries will share experience on national implementation measures in line with the Regional Plan on Marine Litter Management in the Mediterranean and other initiatives.
Work by UNEP/MAP and Regional Activity CentresThe session was opened by Mohammad Kayyal, MED POL Programme Management Officer and representing UNEP/MAP. He highlighted that marine litter is a priority for MAP and is being addressed by all MAP components under different angles:
- MEDPOL: monitoring and assessment
- SCP/RAC: prevention of land-based sources
- REMPEC: management of sea-based sources
- SPA/RAC: effects of marine litter on biota
- Plan Bleu: socio economic analysis
From left to right: Franck Lauwers (REMPEC), Christos Ioakeimidis anb Mohammad Kayyal (MEDPOL), and Magali Outters and Pedro Fernández (SCP/RAC)
Thus, he gave the floor to representatives from the different Regional Activity Centre to explain activities in detail.
- Magali Outters and Pedro Fernández presented SCP/RAC activities from a regional and national perspective. For example, they showcased work at the regional level on how green and circular businesses are boosting solutions to marine litter through the SwitchMed programme, as well as how the Centre has supported governments in their efforts to reduce single-use plastic bags (Marine Litter Med project). Other activities in the Balkans are ongoing to prevent plastic packaging in the food and beverage sector.
- Christos Ioakeimidis presented MED POL activities and those related to monitoring and assessment of marine litter in the region. Many countries have been supported in putting in place a national monitoring system that would allow for national and regional evaluations. In addition, MED POL provided guidance and on the ground support for the implementation of the “Adopt-a-beach” and “Fishing-for-Litter” pilots envisaged in the framework of the EU-funded Marine Litter Med Project.
- Franck Lauwers presented the mandate and activities of REMPEC, particularly in relation to marine litter. The Centre has been working on regional guidelines and pilot projects on two crucial measures: provision of reception facilities in ports and application charges at reasonable costs for their use.
- Christos Ioakeimidis, on behalf of SPA/RAC, provided a comprehensive overview of the work that is being carried out with regards to the effect of marine litter (i.e. ingestion and entanglement) on biodiversity, with a particular focus on endangered species (e.g. marine turtle). The Centre organized specific capacity building, training sessions on the methods applied to monitor the amount of marine litter ingested by or entangling the marine turtles and fostered collaboration across the region.
- Magali Outters, on behalf of Plan Bleu, presented the Centre and its marine litter related activities, notably the socioeconomic analysis on marine litter key best practices to prevent/reduce single use of plastic bags and bottles which aims at developing sound economic arguments on the reduction and prevention of single use plastic bags and bottles.
All the Regional Activity Centre acknowledged the financial report received through different donors, including UN Environment, the European Union (Marine Litter Med, SwitchMed and SWIM-H2020 SM projects), the Italian Ministry of Environment, Land and Sea Protection and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) (marine litter activities in the Balkans).
After the overview provided by the Centres, there was a short discussion on different topics:
- Riverine inputs of marine litter draw particular attention from the audience, with a particular focus on the contribution of the major rivers in the Mediterranean. An attendant expressed concerned on the Nile River as a major contributor of marine litter in the region, based on scientific estimates. A participant from Egypt explained that several studies are being conducted at the Nile Delta for data cross-check. In addition, ongoing infrastructures works are expected to reduce the amount of waste reaching the riverine waters. Furthermore, it should be considered that the contribution from small rivers reaching the sea, even if less loaded, is very important due to their wide extension in the region.
- Another issue of discussion was toxic chemicals in relation to plastics. One industry representative expressed that not all plastic contains toxic additives, and informed on a recent publication by the industry related to additives in the top 10 Marine Litter items.
- A participant of Algeria expressed the need to better address links with climate change policies and the Basel-Rotterdam-Stockholm Conventions, in order to better support Southern Mediterranean countries in their efforts to combat marine litter.
Countries’ delegates in the session
Panel topicsA participatory exercise using the Mentimeter tool introduced the panel topics to have a collective impression on specific topics. Three questions were made to participants who answered as it follows.
Then, a series of 3 panels took place around specific marine litter topics. Different countries and stakeholders intervened focusing in one topic (some explained additional activities).
Firstly, Spain as host country provided a comprehensive overview of marine litter related actions in the country. Marta Martínez-Gil from the Ministry for Ecological Transition explained programs on prevention of sea and land-based pollution, removal, partnerships and public awareness, including the Citizens’ Decalogue on Marine Litter. The presentation raised some questions from the public. How is the database generated by “fishing for litter” being used? These data complement the official monitoring system of the Ministry. Is there available national funding for volunteer clean-up initiatives? Yes, particularly through the calls of Fundación Biodiversidad and the National Parks organisation.
Panel 1: Prevention of land-based sources
- Ronit Avrahami from the Ministry of Environment of Israel presented the implementation and impact of the plastic bag levy in the country. It managed to reduce by 8o% the consumption in large supermarkets. However, it is being considered to impose a compulsory charge on all bags since a certain law by-pass is observed.
- Khaoula Lagrini from the State Secretary for Sustainable Development in Morocco explained the national ban on single-use plastic bags as well as implementations measure taken by the government, along with other national initiatives.
- Sameh Ayoub from the Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency (EEAA) presented activities related to the prevention of plastic bags, for example, a voluntary initiatives with supermarkets by which they would provide discounts to costumers coming with marked reusable bags.
- The French representatives also intervened from the floor explaining that the country managed to reduce by 80% the consumption of single-use plastic bags, which have been replaced by thicker and reusable bags.
Panel 1 with speakers from Morocco and Egypt
Panel 2: Prevention of sea-based sources
- Pero Tutman from the Institute of Oceanography and Fisheries of Croatia presented Fishing for Litter in the country within the Interreg ML-REPAIR project.
- Özlem Özer from the Ministry of Environment and Urbanization in Turkey presented the “Blue Card” programme in marinas by which recreational boats deliver the waste at no extra cost.
- REMPEC’s consultant Peter van den Dries provided an overview of the study on best practice for the application of cost recovery systems for ship-generated waste in ports and marinas.
Panel 3: Monitoring and assessment
- Konstantinos Antoniadis from the Department of Fisheries and Marine Research in Cyprus.
- Marjeta Mima from ECAT Tirana (Albania) presented the Interreg MELMETI project which is conducting monitoring activities in Vlora, among others.
Attendants acknowledged the wealth of information provided at this meeting and the exchange north-south and south-south was particularly interesting and welcome.
By organizing this session within MARLICE 2019, the UNEP/MAP system has strengthen efforts in communicating activities to a large audience, as well as in acting as a facilitator for exchanges among participants.
MED POL team (from right to left): Mohammad Kayal, Nathalie Gomez, Christos Ioakeimidis and Georgios Petridis
From left to right: Marta Martínez-Gil (Spanish Ministry for the Ecological Transition), Pilar Zorzo (president of the Spanish Association of Marine Litter - AEBAM) and Nathalie Gomez (MED POL)