WP5 : Basin-wide promotion of MSFD principles

WP5 will work to identify, develop and promote tools and methods to assess environmental status across the SES basins with emphasis on non-EU countries, in accordance with the principles and objectives of the MSFD. The state-of-the-art methodology will facilitate the basin-wide promotion of the MSFD and shall establish common understanding and joint approaches to ensure coherence and consistency throughout the SES. The objectives are to increase the capacity for ecosystem state assessment, definition of Good Environmental Status, monitoring and finally for management based on the MSFD descriptors, i.e. to provide tools for the application of MSFD principles in non-EU countries of the SES through networking between EU and non-EU countries. WP5, together with WP6, will provide decision makers with a scientific basis needed in order to set common environmental targets for the SES ecosystems.

In selected EU case study areas the approaches of the MSFD assessments will be reviewed and analysed focusing on the use of available data, and the methodologies and/or principles used in the different areas and spatial scales, clarifying also knowledge/data gaps. This first step will lead to the development of the assessment elements for the non EU countries examining how quantitatively characteristics, i.e. monitoring data, are being transformed into assessments according to EU criteria. The extracted elements will then be applied on datasets collected for this purpose from the non-EU study areas under the guidelines produced by this WP. Finally, the assessment elements will be refined for the purpose of a basin-wide application, in close collaboration with stakeholders towards the application and communication of the MSFD assessment elements in non EU areas through an iterative process involving all stakeholders. The methodological standards that will be developed will ensure consistency and allow comparison between EU and non-EU countries, and enable the basin-wide promotion of the principles and objectives put forward in the MSFD. This methodology is interwoven with the work of the rest of the WPs as it’s one of the focal points of the project.

The WP5 methodology will constitute a standardized process that will be endorsed in relevant assessments conducted also under WP1 and WP2. Eventually, commonly accepted tools, will allow harmonized assessments and enable comparison of the environmental status across the SES marine sub-regions. Identified knowledge/data gaps will be tackled by subsequent activities dealt under the ‘experimental’ WPs (WP1-WP4) both in EU and non EU areas. under WP1, WP2, WP3 and WP4)The work will benefit from modelling efforts in WP4 providing an improved understanding of ecosystem functioning, elucidating possibly the extent of impacts on ecosystem functioning and relevant ecosystem services, which will also contribute to future needs arising by the further implementation of the Directive. Another main synergy will be with WP6 since the PERSEUS adaptive policy framework (APF) that will be developed in WP6 will be applied on the four EU case studies of WP5 to ensure convergence ability and evolution efficiency that will, therefore, enable adequate suitability for policy planning at various scales in support of reaching a basin-wide GES.