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Improving Environmental Monitoring in the Black Sea EMBLAS (2013-2014; 2014-2017)

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Delia Leonte25 November 2014

What is this project about?

The EMBLAS project supports Georgia, Ukraine and the Russian Federation to improve Black Sea protection, and specifically to enhance countries’ ability to perform marine environmental monitoring. Collection of complex data on the status of the Black Sea environment is crucial for knowledge-based decision-making.  The phase II of the project (EMBLAS II) builds on the work and results of a preparatory action – phase I (EMBLAS I) and will implement activities which were initiated in the first phase, as well as adding new exploits. EMBLAS II will test in practice the theoretical elaborations of EMBLAS I. The total budget of the project is 3.78 million EUR (Phase I: 2013-2014, EU: 0.6 million EUR and UNDP: 0.46 million EUR / Phase II: 2014-2017, EU: 2.5 million EUR and UNDP: 0.22 million EUR).

In particular, the project supports the countries to:

  • Review national monitoring systems and tools for assessing data obtained from monitoring activities and recommend on their improvements;
  • Implement countries’ obligations under the Bucharest and other related Conventions and Agreements, including development of an indicator-based reporting on compliance within the Black Sea countries’ obligations under the Bucharest Conventions;
  • Develop and implement cost-effective and harmonised monitoring programmes, including biological and chemical parameters, in accordance with reporting obligations under multilateral environmental agreements;
  • Ensure capacity building & enhance regional co-operation in monitoring through joint cruises;
  • Facilitate the marine environmental information sharing between Black Sea riparian countries.

The Black Sea monitoring revision has three main objectives:

  1. To answer reporting needs in line with various level obligations of the EMBLAS beneficiary countries (global to local);
  2. To build-up knowledge-based decision-making in Black Sea sustainable management;
  3. To provide records, which, in the long-term, would allow for verification of efficiency of measures taken and would also develop our notion on what is ‘norm’ and ‘pathology’ in the functioning of Nature. The latter will allow us to better set environmental targets and improve our environmental protection endeavour.

What is the impact of the project?

Most of the impacts will be seen after the life-span of EMBLAS, as the project is dealing with policy issues, which require governmental approval. The latter strongly depends on the political and economic situation in the project beneficiary countries. The project is expected to have a positive impact on the future Black Sea monitoring, data collection, building knowledge and strengthening communication and collaboration among key Black Sea monitoring stakeholders, in particular:

  • Understanding of the decision makers that environmental protection is not possible without regular, complex and quality monitoring of the environment, which goes beyond biological and chemical observations. Integrated monitoring involves meeting all the reporting needs of EU Directives, Black Sea regional and global level legislation (Conventions, and soft-law agreements), as well as national level legislation. Integrated Environmental Monitoring (IEM) is an ongoing and systematic process to determine, analyse, and interpret the environmental status of investigated ecosystem through undertaking pressures/impacts analysis.
  • Bringing new type of complex monitoring programmes,focused on provision of data/information to create knowledge-based decision-making in environment protection, while at the same time serving the needs of fundamental science, which is the ‘forward-looking’ component in marine science.
  • Capacity building to provide for quality monitoring, decision-support tools, enhanced co-operation, harmonization of policiesin environment protection management. This implies an agreement on good environmental status (GES) identification and setting environment targets; the establishment of harmonised monitoring programmes (including harmonised methodologies of sampling, processing of samples and data management); the setting of common formats for the assessments of the state of the Black Sea, where recommendations are given for changes in Black Sea environment protection management plans.
  • Exchange of good practices, whereEMBLAS seeks to incorporate best available practices in the areas of its activities: i) monitoring; ii) data management; iii) identification of GES and environmental targets; iv) development of Water Quality/GES database; v) development of guidelines in support of monitoring harmonization; and vi) adoption of SoPs (Standard Operational Procedures) for generation of quality and comparable data sets.

In addition, the results of the project will influence the future decision-making and management of Black Sea environmental protection.


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