The last few years have seen a growing awareness of environmental change and the need for urgent policy action. In 2009 the EEA started to implement its new 5‑year strategy in response to this. The EEA will consolidate and improve the timing, spatial resolution and quality of environmental data flows, establish new data sources where needed and encourage a greater
integration of knowledge about the linkages between ecosystems and the major socio‑economic arenas. It will also seek to contribute improving the quality and effectiveness of environmental education in Europe.
The effectiveness evaluation of the EEA stated that 'The Agency is ... the most efficient way to deliver the products and
services required by the stakeholders. ... It is difficult to see ... how the provision of impartial and reliable information, could be performed through any of the possible other mechanisms available for European organisations'. The 2008 evaluation also gave a number of recommendations on priority setting and dissemination and the Agency has acted upon these in defining the future priorities and use of Agency resources.
The new multi‑annual work programme, which started in 2009, is the Agency's fourth such programme. It builds upon the successful delivery of our previous strategy for 2004–2008, which was based on the key priorities of the 6th EAP and established the Agency as a key provider in Europe of environmental data, information and knowledge.
The new strategy also builds upon the 6th EAP, projecting its four key priorities into the period to 2013, and addressing new initiatives and challenges as they emerge. It also serves as the multi‑annual work programme (as required by the EEA Regulation), defining priorities for the EEA's work in the period up to 2013 and is the basis for the development of the annual work programmes from 2009 onwards. The key drivers of the new strategy are outlined below.
New ways of interpreting environmental information
Much of nature is a public good, owned by all, but not cared for by all. To help us value nature's benefits we will need
to find ways to pay the right price for its protection and conservation. At the EEA, we are building the equivalent of official statistics for ecological services and environmental assets; to set alongside the traditional assets of our economy. On the way we will confirm the methodological basis for an international agreement on environmental accounting, and produce an assessment of Europe's ecosystems and services — Eureca 2012. In the future we will be able to demonstrate how companies and governments can embed ecosystem services to restructure the global economy.