WG-DIKE Meeting Report on MSFD, 12-13 March 2012

Reported by Roger Longhorn, EUCC Information Policy Advisor

The DG ENV sponsored Working Group on Data, Information and Knowledge Exchange (WG-DIKE) met inBrussels on 12-13 March 2012 to further discuss the Common Implementation Strategy (CIM) for the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD). Key topics were finalization of the reporting requirements of the Directive and the reporting sheets to be used by agencies and institutions in completing that reporting. The initial assessment reports are due by 15 October 2012. Information harmonization and exchange for MSFD are to be underpinned by the INSPIRE Directive, as well as WISE (Water Information System forEurope) and WISE-Marine, the WISE marine information component, and EMODnet – all part of the Shared Environmental Information System (SEIS).

The main MSFD actions in 2012 are:

  • Initial assessment of the current environmental status of Member States’ marine waters,
  • Determination of what Good Environmental Status (GES) means for Member States’ marine waters, and
  • Identification of targets in view of reaching GES in 2020.

As regards spatial information, the MSFD requires that the many indicators for GES stipulated in the Directive are reported on the basis of regional seas and sub-regions. A proposal has been made to introduce a new grid system for future reporting (post-15 October) to add more granularity for spatial analysis of the impact of the Directive. This is to be investigated further in a new WG-DIKE sub-group. Comments from the participants at the March meeting were generally supportive of the concept, although much work remains to see if it can be implemented in practice, at reasonable cost and without altering existing data collection practices. Note that the guidance states “The boundary information should be in the format of geographical information system (GIS) data and should comply with INSPIRE (Directive 2007/2/EC) standards, where these are available.” This is one more reason that EUCC members who are engaged in providing information for MSFD reporting need to be fully aware of the relevant data specifications developed within the INSPIRE initiative.

The Marine Directors will meet in Copenhagen,Denmark, 4 – 5 June 2012, to discuss the overall implementation of the Marine Directive. On 16 April, the final draft “Guidance for 2012 Reporting under the Marine Strategy Framework Directive” under the CIM was circulated to WG-DIKE andMemberStates, for discussion and presentation to the Marine Directors in June. It can be accessed here.

European drainage map