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UNECE 20th session of the Working Group on Environmental Monitoring and Assessment

Sep 03, 2018 to Sep 04, 2018 (Europe/Copenhagen / UTC200)
Geneva, Switzerland
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Representatives from the EEA participated to the 20th Session of the UNECE Working Group on Environmental Monitoring and Assessment (WGEMA) to which the ENI SEIS II East project also facilitated the participation of representatives from all six partner countries of the project.

A first agenda point was the election of the Chair and Vice-Chairs. The previous representatives were all reappointed (Chair: Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia; Vice-Chairs: Georgia and Russian Federation).

The group discussed the outline of activities up to 2021 and the draft timetable of activities for 2019. The UNECE was invited to revise and update the list of planned activities and be more specific on the level of engagement expected by various partners (lead, contributor, etc), as several activities will involve various international partners and project. The EEA stressed the importance of ensuring strong linkages between the WGEMA and the Joint Task Force on Environmental Statistics and Indicators (JTFESI), while being very clear on the mandates, activities and participants of each group to avoid duplications.

Another important agenda point was the SEIS Assessment Framework and first draft report prepared by the UNECE based on country responses (the SEIS assessment mid-term review). The discussions covered the SEIS questionnaire and ways to improve it, the on-line tool developed by UNEP and the main findings of the draft report. Overall the exercise was useful for all participants. Issues were raised by countries concerning: improving the terminology and clarity of the questions; refining the scoring system as to reflect better the gradual progress in SEIS development; adding questions on the use of available indicators for assessment purposes; extending eventually the exercise to more environmental data flows and related indicators. Based on its experience in pre-filling the SEIS assessment framework for all its Eionet members, the EEA offered to run a hands-on session with the countries at the JTFESI in October to help improve the response of the countries and clarify the understanding of the questions. The draft SEIS assessment mid-term review report will be revised by the NECE based on comments received and submitted to the Committee on Environmental Policy (CEP) for approval in January 2019.

Regarding the regular pan-European environmental assessment and streamlining regular reporting based on SEIS, UNEP informed about their regular assessment process and the fact that the GEO-6 report will be released in March 2019. CEP will start discussing the themes of the next Environment for Europe (EfE) Ministerial Conference (2021) in January 2019 but no clear decision on the themes will be taken before the end of 2019 at the earliest. The EEA stressed the importance of making use of the their upcoming State and Outlook of the European Environment Report 2020 (SOER2020) findings in the process.

Forthcoming events of relevance:

  • UNECE/Joint Task Force on Environment Statistics and Indicator: Geneva 25-26 October 2018;
  • UNECE/Committee on Environment Policy: Geneva, 29-31 January 2018
  • UNECE/Working Group on Environmental Monitoring and Assessment; May 2019 (tbc)


All materials of the WGEMA meeting including agenda and list of participants is available at the following link:



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