The Eionet group consists of the National Focal Points (NFPs), the European Topic Centre managers, representatives of the European Commission and the relevant EEA staff.
An expert or group of experts in national environmental organisations nominated and funded by the country and authorised to be the main contact point for the EEA. The NFP coordinates the national network in order to support the implementation of the EEA work programme.
National Focal Points (NFPs) are the main contact points for the EEA in the member and cooperating countries. They are in charge of cooperation with the EEA and the ETCs and organise national coordination of activities related to the EEA Strategy (five-year work programme). Their working methods differ from country to country. This partly reflects the diverse nature of the national environmental systems within which they are based. For example, some NFPs are located in environment agencies, others in environment ministries; some are in centralised national administrations, whereas others operate in decentralised, sometimes federal, systems. NFPs maintain and develop the national network and facilitate and coordinate contacts, requests and deliveries at national and EU level. Some also act as advisers to their EEA Management Board members and develop contacts to other relevant networks.
An expert or group of experts in national environmental organisations nominated and funded by the country to work with the EEA and relevant European Topic Centres in specific thematic areas related to the EEA work programme.
National Reference Centres (NRCs) are nominated by member and cooperating countries. They are nationally funded experts or groups of experts in organisations which are regular collectors or suppliers of environmental data at the national level and/or possess relevant knowledge of specific environmental issues, monitoring or modelling. NRCs operate in specific areas of environmental activity - for example air quality, climate change, river quality, waste generation, biodiversity, energy and many more. They play a role in the technical coordination of these topics and work with the EEA and the relevant ETCs.
A consortium of organisations from EEA member countries with expertise in a specific environmental area contracted by the EEA to support the EEA work programme.
European Topic Centres (ETCs) are centres of thematic expertise contracted by the EEA to carry out specific tasks identified in the EEA strategy and the annual management plans. They are designated by the EEA Management Board following a Europe-wide competitive selection process and work as an extension of the EEA in specific topic areas. Each ETC consists of a lead organisation and specialist partner organisations from the environmental research and information community, which combine their resources in their particular area of expertise. The ETCs facilitate the provision of data and information from the countries and deliver reports and other services to the EEA and Eionet.
At present (2011) there are six European Topic Centres working with EEA and the national Eionet partners:
European Commission (DG Environment, Joint Research Centre, Eurostat)
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