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 a national environmental organisation nominated and funded by the country and authorised to be the main contact point for the EEA, other Eionet members, and relevant actors. The NFP coordinates the national network consisting of numerous National Reference Centres (NRCs) 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 Multiannual Work Programme. NFP 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 individual or group with relevant expertise in a national environmental organisation nominated and funded by the country to work with the EEA and relevant ETCs in specific environmental areas related to the EEA work programme.
National Reference Centres (NRCs) are nominated by Eionet member and cooperating countries. NRCs are established in specific environmental areas, for example air quality, health and environment, climate change, waste, nature and biodiversity, energy and many more. They play a key role in coordinating these topics and in providing relevant data and expertise. The NRC structure varies in accordance with the requirements and priorities of the EEA Multiannual Work Programme. The focus of work of NRCs differs according to the particular topic being dealt with, but all work with the EEA in fulfilling the work programme. NRCs are located in organisations which are regular collectors or suppliers of environmental data at the national level and/or possess relevant knowledge regarding various environmental issues, monitoring or modelling.
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 Multiannual Work Programme and the annual work programmes. They are designated by the EEA Management Board following a Europe-wide competitive selection process and work as extensions 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 areas of expertise. The ETCs, working together with Eionet countries, facilitate the provision of data and information from the countries and deliver reports and other services to the EEA and Eionet.
At present (2016) 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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