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About Eionet

Eionet is a partnership network of the European Environment Agency (EEA) and its 39 member and cooperating countries.

The EEA is responsible for developing Eionet and coordinating its activities, together with national focal points (NFPs) in the countries, based in national environment agencies or environment ministries.

The NFPs are responsible for coordinating networks of national reference centres (NRCs), bringing together experts from national institutions and other bodies involved in environmental information.

Apart from NFPs and NRCs, Eionet also includes European Topic Centres (ETCs). There are currently seven ETCs. They are consortia of institutions across EEA member countries dealing with a specific environmental topics and contracted by the EEA to perform specific tasks of its work programme.

The Eionet portal serves the network by providing a platform for networking and information sharing and tools for collection management of environmental data and information.

The Concept

Taking up its work in 1994, Eionet has become a well-known and trusted provider of high‑quality data, information and assessments for Europe.

The concept of Eionet encompasses the following defining elements:

Member and cooperating countries

The EEA currently has 33 member countries and six cooperating countries. The 33 member countries include the 28 European Union Member States, together with Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland and Turkey. The six cooperating countries are Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia as well as Kosovo (without prejudice to positions on status, and in line with UNSCR 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo Declaration of Independence)

For further information, see the pages under Countries on the main menu and the Countries pages on the EEA main website

Eionet partners

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.

National Focal Points (NFPs)
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.

National Reference Centres (NRCs)
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.

European Topic Centres (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 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 (2018) there are seven European Topic Centres working with EEA and the national Eionet partners:

Representatives of the European Commission

European Commission (DG Environment, Joint Research Centre, Eurostat)