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Marine knowledge 2020

This Communication proposes an action plan intended to improve the use of scientific knowledge through a more coordinated approach to marine data collection and assembly.

ACT

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council of 8 September 2010 – Marine knowledge 2020 marine data and observation for smart and sustainable growth [COM(2010) 461 final - Not published in the Official Journal].

SUMMARY

Marine data are collected mainly for a specific purpose – for instance to exploit marine resources or to ensure safe navigation. However, those applying these data face a number of obstacles:

  • lack of information on the data that already exists;
  • restrictions on access and use;
  • fragmented standards, formats and nomenclature;
  • lack of information on the precision and accuracy of the data;
  • the pricing policy of some providers; and
  • insufficient spatial or temporal resolution.

Objectives

The action plan defines three objectives:

  • making the use of marine data simpler and less expensive;
  • encouraging competition and innovation among users of these data; and
  • reducing uncertainty, to provide a sounder basis for managing future changes.

These objectives contribute to the implementation of some of the initiatives announced in the Europe 2020 strategy. Moreover, the benefits of creating an integrated network to replace the present fragmented marine observation system are considerable.

Improving the existing instruments

To enhance the impact of the existing instruments, the Commission:

  • will take steps to ensure access to data collected under regional development and marine and maritime research programmes supported by the European Union (EU) and to permit their re-use;
  • will adopt the measures intended to promote coastal information systems in accordance with Recommendation 2002/413/EC concerning Integrated Coastal Zone Management;
  • will consider the possibility of extending the financing of demonstrations of marine Global Monitoring for Environment and Security services (GMES services) beyond 2014;
  • will make sure that Member States enforce the access rules for fisheries data and will explore ways to widen the scope for accessing these data;
  • will develop the WISE-Marine and EMODnet shared information systems to improve their accessibility and interoperability;
  • intends to improve the coverage of data, resolution and range of assembled parameters;
  • will ensure that its Agencies and Member States communicate data regularly, aggregated in time and space;
  • will ensure that Eurostat studies detailed population and area parameters in order to provide a better understanding of coastal influence.

The measures adopted are intended to create synergies between the various improvements. Their aim is to ensure a smooth and seamless provision of marine data while avoiding duplication of efforts. This will involve:

  • ensuring common standards;
  • providing free access to marine data without restriction of use;
  • ensuring that the data assembled meet the needs of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive;
  • specific ur-EMODnet action in 2010 to assemble data as input for the GMES system;
  • assessing gaps in the monitoring network in 2012/2013 based on the results of specific ur-EMODnet and prototype GMES marine core service actions;
  • opening a dialogue with partner countries and international organisations in order to contribute towards an interoperable global marine knowledge system.

Establishing a common environment for marine data

Obtaining data crossing Member States’ borders depends on the creation of a common environment. This environment should incorporate the following elements:

  • from the outset multiple uses should be envisaged for the data collected;
  • data should be maintained close to the source and be under proper guardianship in accredited data centres;
  • a number of thematic assembly groups should be entrusted with assembling data by specific theme, for example geological layers or chemical contaminants;
  • an integrated viewpoint at sea-basin level is needed;
  • in certain cases, EU support may concentrate on the analysis and application of data;
  • the decision making process decides what data is going to be collected and how it should be assembled.

To create this common environment, the Commission proposes:

  • sharing responsibility for safeguarding knowledge between the public and private sectors;
  • promoting good practice in data curation and dissemination by improving communication amongst national data centres through regular discussions in its data expert groups and its maritime internet forum;
  • setting up pilot projects in the period 2011-2013 (financed by the programme to support the development of an integrated maritime policy) to ensure an integrated surveillance approach;
  • defining priorities for assembling data in ur-EMODnet and developing a proposal for more stable governance;
  • setting up a secretariat to manage the ur-EMODnet process.

Context

Improving knowledge of the seas and oceans is one of the three cross-cutting tools of the EU's integrated maritime policy. This instrument can also contribute towards the objectives of the other two instruments, namely better spatial planning and integrated maritime surveillance.

Last updated: 02.12.2010
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