Talk:European Coastal Action Plan, 2008

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Review by Job Dronkers (January 2013)

The European Action Plan for Strengthening the Knowledge Base of Sustainable Coastal and Marine Management calls for a concerted European research effort focusing on the 4 broad topics identified at the Paris Conference of 2007. Similar recommendations - in more general terms - have been formulated by other international marine fora, the Ostend Declaration (2010) and the Limassol Declaration for an EU-integrated Maritime Policy (2012).

So far, none of the recommendations has been implemented as such. For a recent overview of coastal observation in Europe the reader is referred to the articles Coastal observation systems and Coastal observatories, tha latter focusing on the fixed automated measurement stations for the collection of hydrographic and/or meteorological data.

Several initiatives of the European Commission create opportunities that may lead - partly - to the future realisation of the European Action Plan. The following initiatives are particularly relevant:

  • The [Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GEMS) programme, that supports the development of marine services by delivering information on the state and dynamics of the ocean and coastal zones. Based on in-situ and satellite monitoring and modelling, the GMES MyOcean project contributes to protection and management of the marine environment and resources, to the monitoring of pollution such as oil spills and to the improvement of marine safety. Information is delivered on sea level, ocean colour, sea-surface temperature, salinity, sea state and wind, sea ice and ship detection. Several downstream services are developed in related projects, a.o.: Marine Water Quality Information Services (project AquaMar), Applied Simulations and Integrated Modelling for the Understanding of Toxic Algal Blooms (project ASIMUTH), Coastal Biomass Observatory Services (project CoBIOS), Multisensor Satellite Technologies for Oil Pollution Monitoring and Source Identification (project SeaU) and Sea Ice Downstream Services for Arctic and Antarctic Users and Stakeholders (project SIDARUS).
  • The European Marine Strategy Framework Directive adopted in 2008. The Directive obliges member states to implement a harmonised monitoring strategy for the European sea basins by 2014. The monitoring programmes will address descriptors for biodiversity, non-indigenous species, the population of commercial fish species, key food webs, eutrophication, sea floor integrity, hydrographical conditions, contaminants, marine litter and underwater noise.
  • The Marine Knowledge 2020 strategy. Marine Knowledge 2020 aims to bring together marine data from different sources in the member states and to make these data available for every public or private user. This activity is undertaken in the EMODnet project, where European data distribution systems are built for parameters characterising the biological, hydrographical (including bathymetry), physical, chemical, geological and habitat state of all the European seas.
  • The European Research StrategyHorizon 2020, the follow-up of FP7. It provides financial support to basic research, based on criteria of scientific excellence, and applied research, basic on criteria of innovation and societal outcome (economic growth, health, environment). In the last category, marine and maritime research are among the focus areas. Another major objective of Horizon 2020 is the pooling of national research resources of the member states. The ERA-NET scheme of FP7 for co-funding of joint calls for proposals will be complemented with the Joint Programming Initiative for integration of national research programmes. For the integration of marine and maritime research programmes, the JPI Oceans] initiative has been launched.