The steering committee of the Support Mechanism project Shared Environmental Information System (SEIS) principles and practices in the European neighbourhood South regions held its first meeting jointly with the 7th meeting of the Horizon 2020 Review and Monitoring group from 12 to 14 December in Athens, bringing together representatives from Mediterranean countries, namely from Albania, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Libya, Lebanon, Montenegro, Morocco, Palestine, Tunisia and Turkey, along with the European Commission, the European Environment Agency, the UN Environment Mediterranean Action Plan and other regional bodies.
National focal points of the MED POL programme, H2020 Review and Monitoring group and the Shared Environmental Information System project attended the joint meeting, which aimed to strengthen synergies between different actors and activities. A number of regional initiatives and programmes were presented, giving an overview of the state of play in the Mediterranean and identifying ways to further enhance coordination, common understanding and commitment in the field of monitoring, review and assessment based on Shared Environmental Information System principles.
Representatives from participating countries presented the progress achieved in the project first Work Package, which aims to provide in-country support. All countries have developed or are in the process of developing their national work plans, listing priority activities in the area of pollution assessment, data and information sharing systems. The national work plans will be further developed and finalized and validated by February 2017.
Participants to the meeting highlighted the efforts needed for coordinated assessment programmes and reporting, as well as further streamlining of environmental indicators. Therefore, an ad hoc temporary working group with volunteers from some participating countries, was formed with a view to identify and select a common core set of indicators that will assist the countries in respecting different reporting obligations. With the existence of different sets of indicators developed at different levels, the group will base its work on the list of common National Action Plans indicators developed by the UN Environment Mediterranean Action Plan, which are mainly based on the indicators selected by the countries in their National Action Plans, with links to H2020, the Integrated Monitoring and Assessment Programme and related Assessment Criteria, and the Sustainable Development Goals indicators.
Divided into four groups, participants also reflected on the needs for the development of the H2020 Assessment Report for 2019, and shared a number of recommendations addressing different aspects of its preparation and design.
The implementation of the Shared Environmental Information System (SEIS) principles and practices in the European neighbourhood South regions is a 4-year project funded by the EU European Neighborhood Initiative and is being jointly implemented by the European Environment Agency and UN Environment Mediterranean Action Plan. Activities under the project contribute to the implementation of the Horizon 2020 initiative to depollute the Mediterranean Sea by 2020. The project activities support the overall objective of the Horizon 2020 Review and Monitoring group co-chaired by the European Environment Agency and UN Environment Mediterranean Action Plan, which aims to monitor progress of the implementation of Horizon 2020 initiative particularly through appropriate information sharing systems easily accessible to all Mediterranean partners, in cooperation with relevant partner organizations.