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Implementation of the Shared environmental information system principles and practices for monitoring, review and assessment in the Mediterranean

1st Steering Committee meeting ENI SEIS South Support Mechanism project and 7th H2020 Review and Monitoring group, 12-14 December 2016, Athens.
Countries: Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Palestine, Tunisia

The steering committee of the Support Mechanism project Shared Environmental Information System (SEIS) principles and practices in the European neighbourhood South region (ENI SEIS South) held its first meeting jointly with the 7th meeting of the Horizon 2020 Review and Monitoring group from 12 to 14 December in Athens, bringing together representatives from Mediterranean countries, namely from Albania, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Libya, Lebanon, Montenegro, Morocco, Palestine, Tunisia and Turkey, along with the European Commission, the European Environment Agency, the UN Environment Mediterranean Action Plan and other regional bodies.

National focal points of the ENI SEIS South project, of H2020 Review and Monitoring group and of  MED POL programme attended the joint meeting, which aimed to strengthen synergies between different actors and activities. A number of regional initiatives and programmes were presented, giving an overview of the state of play in the Mediterranean and identifying ways to further enhance coordination, common understanding and commitment in the field of monitoring, review and assessment based on Shared Environmental Information System principles. 
Representatives from participating countries presented the progress achieved in the project first Work Package, which aims to provide in-country support. All countries have developed or are in the process of developing their national work plans, listing priority activities in the area of pollution assessment, data and information sharing systems. The national work plans will be further developed and finalised and validated by February 2017.
Participants to the meeting highlighted the efforts needed for coordinated assessment programmes and reporting, as well as further streamlining of environmental indicators. Therefore, an ad hoc temporary working group with volunteers from some participating countries, was formed with a view to identify and select a common core set of indicators that will assist the countries in respecting different reporting obligations. With the existence of different sets of indicators developed at different levels, the group will base its work on the list of common National Action Plans indicators developed by the UN Environment Mediterranean Action Plan, which are mainly based on the indicators selected by the countries in their National Action Plans, with links to H2020, the Integrated Monitoring and Assessment Programme and related Assessment Criteria, and the Sustainable Development Goals indicators.
Divided into four groups in a dynamic interactive session, the participants also reflected on the needs for the development of the 2nd H2020 indicator-based assessment Report to be published in 2019, and shared a number of recommendations addressing different aspects of its preparation and design.