© Bemed

10-11, March 2015

On 10 and 11 March 2015, the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, Surfrider Foundation Europe, Tara Expeditions and the Mava Foundation are holding an international conference in Monaco: “Plastic in the Mediterranean Sea: beyond mere observations, what are the solutions?”.

Press release 

The conference organised by the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, Surfrider Foundation Europe, Tara Expeditions and the Mava Foundation tackles two key challenges: reducing the stream of plastic waste entering and impacting on the marine environment, and encouraging long-term practical action from all stakeholders in the plastics industry in the Mediterranean. “Plastic stakeholders” from more than ten Mediterranean countries will meet: those who produce plastics, those who organise recycling, those who suffer the impacts from non-recycled waste, those working to assess the current situation in respect of the impacts caused, and those seeking solutions from both technology and society.

His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco will bring the event to a close.

The conference will be opened by Bixente Lizarazu and chaired by the France Inter journalist Stéphane Paoli.



In the Mediterranean Sea, 80% of all waste originates on land (industrial activity, poor management of waste and wastewater, littering, etc.). With demographic growth and the urbanisation of the major metropolitan areas, the Mediterranean is under pressure and is suffering from an ever-growing accumulation of plastic waste. The health of marine biodiversity is therefore in danger, people’s health is impacted due to the accumulation of pollutants in the marine food chain.

The workshop will present the overview of these observations and will emphasise the disastrous impact of this plastic pollution on marine biodiversity and, consequently, on human health.

Speakers (pending confirmation):

– Cristina Barreau (Surfrider Foundation Europe, Aquatic Waste Programme Project Manager)
– Andre Abreu (Tara Expeditions, Environment and Climate Manager)
– Iffat Edriss Chatila (Operation Big Blue Association, President)
– François Galgani (Ifremer, Project Manager)
– Gaby Gorsky (Observatoire Océanographique of Villefranche-sur-Mer, Director)


Even though the stakeholders share an eagerness to address the issue of aquatic waste, their positive attitude is countered by the reality of their activities (in technical, societal, legal, economic, and political terms), encouraging the emergence of blockages. In order to ensure that plastic waste is reduced at the source and that it is properly managed, it is crucial to identify these blockages and to instil effective dialogue and cooperation between the stakeholders.

This interactive debate between stakeholders in the lifecycle of these different types of waste will stress the difficulties encountered by stakeholders in reducing plastic waste at source and improving its management. The common thought process will reveal the key factors (economic, societal, technological) of success to implement in order to rise to the challenge. The goal is to use the thought process to support regional processes underway in the Mediterranean (Regional Action Plan established by the MedPAN network, mainly), which often lack visibility, participation, and political will at the highest level.

Speakers (pending confirmation):

– Ulrike Sapiro (Coca-Cola, Environmental Director)
– Mohamed Karim Ouamane (AND Algeria, General Director)
– Habib El-Habr (Convention de Barcelone, Deputy Coordinator UNEP/UMAP)
– Bernard Harambillet (Veolia Propreté France, Managing Director)
– Thomie Vlachogianni (MIO-ECSDE)
– Paul Abi Rached (Eco Movement, President)


We now know that this waste impacts the ocean in a lasting manner and that it is time to transition towards a development model that is compatible with the ability of ecosystems to renew themselves.

For this session, innovation and creativity are the keywords, applied to the points of focus identified as essential for setting the following solutions in motion:

–       The search for a new industrial approach to waste, with the participation of the social, integral economy and of innovative, effective, and consolidated recycling networks;

–       Solid scientific knowledge of the different plastic components discharged into the environment and their impacts, with more room for dialogue and more bridges between science and society;

–       An advanced thought process on the aspects of citizen awareness and education to encourage comprehension of what is at stake and to encourage their participation in the solutions.

–       The development of new, fully biodegradable materials for packaging and containers, as a potential solution for ecological transition.

In this session, different stakeholders will be invited to present their visions and their projects which embody these innovative technical or methodological characteristics, both from an industrial/social and an economic point of view. In addition to raising awareness and educating the stakeholders, recommendations for developing innovative projects or exemplary systems may result from these proceedings. Through exchanges and networking, these recommendations can be replicated by all of the affected parties in the Mediterranean.

Speakers (pending confirmation):

– Demetra L. Orthodoxou (Marlisco Isotech Ltd, Researcher)
– Stéphane Bruzeau (Université de Bretagne, Lecturer)
– Andreas Merkl (Ocean Conservancy, President)
– Rima Tarabay (Ecotown, Coordinator)
– Henrik Essen (Billerudkornsäs, Vice-President of Communication and Sustainable Development)
– Abderrahim Chakkor (Ministry of Trade, Industry and New Technologies, Lebanon)


The Mediterranean area is a high-priority geographical area for the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, an area of influence for Surfrider Foundation Europe through its involvement in Initiatives Océanes activities, an exploration and research area for Tara in 2014, and a work area for the MAVA Foundation.

 Numbers about plastic : 


Practical information

Conference open to the public, subject to registration via the website 

Yacht Club de Monaco: Quai Louis II – MC 98000 Monaco

The conference will be streamed live on the website and Twitter