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Meeting of INFO/RAC National Focal Points, Rome, Italy, 16-17 April 2019

Meeting of INFO/RAC National Focal Points, Rome, Italy, 16-17 April 2019

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Countries: Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Palestine, Tunisia

The National Focal Points of the Information and Communication Regional Activity Center (INFO/RAC) gathered in Rome, Italy, on 16-17 April 2019. The agenda of the meeting included reviewing the draft INFO/RAC component of UN Environment/Mediterranean Action Plan’s (MAP) 2020-2021 Programme of Work.

The Focal Points provided positive feedback on the progress reported on INFO/RAC’s work in the current biennium, in particular the development of the InfoMAP platform. They called for more visibility within InfoMAP platform to official monitoring data collected and shared by Contracting Parties in order to raise awareness by decision-makers on resources needed to deliver monitoring programmes. 

Participants encouraged a complete integration of the existing MAP databases and linkages with other regional systems. In this context, they highlighted the need to assure coherence in terms of data standards and data dictionaries between Barcelona Convention Reporting System (BCRS) protocols, Integrated Monitoring and Assessment Programme (IMAP) data flows and European Environment Agency (EEA) reporting obligations at EU level. 

Regarding the development of a MAP Data Management Policy, the draft Policy was welcomed and will be finalised in 2020-2021, once the mandate for its completion is agreed at the 21st Meeting of the Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention (COP21). The meeting acknowledged the importance of developing an information system for the IMAP based on Shared Environmental Information System (SEIS) principles, which should be interoperable to the extent possible with existing information and reporting systems already used by the Contracting Parties. 

In addition, participants reviewed and commented on the MAP Operational Communication Strategy, which will be submitted to the meeting of MAP Focal Points in September 2019 for their review and onward transmission to the COP21 in December 2019.

The meeting welcomed the development of an e-learning platform and the activation of the first set of E-courses made available to all MAP Components to fulfil their training activities.