Horizon 2020 mediterranean report - Toward shared environmental information systems

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Courtesy of European Environment Agency (EEA)

Over the last 40 years countries bordering the Mediterranean region have been cooperating to protect the fragile and vulnerable marine environment ecosystem of the Mediterranean Sea. Eight years ago in Cairo, the Euro-Mediterranean Ministerial Conference on the Environment endorsed the 'Horizon 2020 Initiative' (H2020). This aimed to de-pollute the Mediterranean by 2020.

As part of the review and monitoring component of the Horizon 2020 Initiative (H2020) and the setting-up of a regular H2020 reporting mechanism, the European Environment Agency (EEA), in cooperation with United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)/Mediterranean Action Plan (MAP) and together with the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) South partner countries, developed a first regional assessment report. This H2020 Mediterranean assessment Report, as called for by the H2020 Cairo road‑map (1), is the first of its kind based on data and information reported by the ENP-South partner countries (2). This process leading to this report was supported by the EU funded European Neighbourhood Policy Instrument (ENPI) Shared Environmental Information System (3) (SEIS) — known as the ENPI-SEIS project (4). SEIS operates on the basis of three pillars: content, infrastructure and governance. The SEIS pillars have guided the review process and have been useful in engaging stakeholders in this first H2020 reporting exercise.

The H2020 Mediterranean Report is a joint effort of the EEA and UNEP/MAP resulting from the creation of a regular review mechanism of environmental progress in the three H2020 policy priorities. These are municipal waste, urban waste water and industrial pollution. The report also serves as a contribution to the mid-term review of the H2020 initiative.

The H2020 Mediterranean Report is structured in three parts;

  • The first part provides a synthesis of the process which created a regular review mechanism. It also lists key recommendations.
  • The second part develops a regional analysis based on the key indicators agreed in the framework of the H2020 review and monitoring section. This part highlights the major drivers of environmental changes in the Mediterranean region and their implications on the protection of the marine environment. It also provides thematic assessments of the three H2020 priority areas (waste water and sanitation; solid municipal waste; and industrial emissions) developed on the basis of data and information reported by the countries themselves.
  • The third part gathers analyses written by the countries on the three H2020 priority areas, addresses specific country situations, reviews national actions being taken and their associated problems and solutions.

Analysis of the three parts stresses the need for further mainstreaming and streamlining of information requirements as well as improved data collection and exchange between the countries. The report provides recommendations to cover some existing shortcomings. These are structured around the three SEIS pillars and are presented in the first part of the report.

The H2020 review process was instrumental for drawing up key messages from the selected H2020 indicators, shared data and information by countries and expressed expert's views. The following key insights (touching upon major trends; building the knowledge base; and capacities and governance) are considered as an important contribution to the midterm review discussions.

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