Some 70 participants came together in Algiers at a series of successful events held to officially launch marine litter monitoring and assessment actions in Algeria, within the framework of the EU-funded “Water and Environment Support (WES) in the ENI Southern Neighbourhood region” project.

The 3-day events, organised from the 22nd to the 24th of November 2022 in cooperation with the Algerian Ministry of Environment and Renewable Energy and the National Conservatory of Environmental Training (CNFE) were two-fold: the first day targeted representatives of ministries, competent authorities and institutions and focused on institutional and operational aspects of the planned WES marine litter activities; the second and third day addressed marine litter professionals and practitioners with the aim to train them on how to carry out marine litter monitoring on the sea surface and the seafloor and generate fit-for-purpose data.

One of the major highlights was the presence of Dr. Samia Moualfi, Minister of Environment and Renewable Energy of Algeria in the closing session. ‘’We wanted to be part of this project because of its great importance towards protecting the environment and ensuring sustainable development in Algeria’’, said Dr. Moualfi who also joined the certificates’ awarding ceremony.

The marine litter events were well-appreciated by all participants; they learned about the major research and policy advances on marine litter in the Mediterranean and in Algeria and were introduced to the state-of-play of marine litter monitoring methods and techniques. In particular, the participants of the training workshop had the opportunity to join a hands-on seafloor litter survey at the Sablettes beach which was carried out in collaboration with local divers.

Ms. Malika Bouali, Director General of CNFE and Environment Focal Point of WES in Algeria stated: ‘’Algeria is committed to the fight against all types of pollution; thus, it has ratified all related international conventions for the protection of the environment and sustainable development, and it strongly supports the implementation of the Regional Plan for Marine Litter Management in the Mediterranean.

The WES project is an opportunity for Algeria to consolidate its efforts and support its policies and strategies aiming to protect the Algerian coast and sea. This WES mission to Algeria has enabled the capacity building of young Algerians who are very sensitized on environmental protection issues and in particular on marine pollution issues. I thank the organisers of this mission and especially the experts who are very committed to giving the WES project a human and environmental value.’’

Mr. Akmoun Amar, Director of the AQUAMAR diver’s association stated: “The workshop was a great opportunity for me to improve my knowledge and skills on marine litter monitoring. I would like to thank all the experts for the impressive work they are doing within the framework of WES. Honestly, with their support and the easy-to-apply survey protocol provided, now we can go beyond just collecting litter from the seafloor and help identify the solutions of the marine litter issue by producing fit-for-purpose data”.

Through dynamic and interactive sessions throughout the series of events and particular during the training workshop, participants discussed thoroughly all aspects of the protocols to be deployed in Algeria in the framework of WES, with the ultimate goal to concretely strengthen the implementation of the Integrated Monitoring and Assessment Programme of the Barcelona Convention with special emphasis on indicator 23. The events concluded with the confirmation of the survey sites to be monitored over the next 12 months, the stakeholders to be involved, their commitment and the expected results of the WES activity.