The European Topic Centre on Inland, Coastal and Marine waters (ETC/ICM) will carry out tasks to support and achieve the expected outputs in the European Environment Agency’s (EEA) Annual Work Programme for 2021 as described in its Single Programming Document 2021-2023 (SPD 2021-2023) in Activity Area 1 ‘Biodiversity and ecosystems’. Activity Area 1 focuses on informing policy implementation in connection with the environmental acquis and the European Green Deal.

The main policies on freshwater and the marine environment constituting the environmental acquis are the Water Framework Directive (WFD), the Groundwater and Environmental Quality Standards (EQS) directives, the water industry directives on bathing water (BWD) and urban waste water treatment (UWWTD), as well as the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD), the Integrated Maritime Policy (IMP) and the Maritime Spatial Planning Directive (MSPD).

With regard to the European Green Deal, the key strategies and initiatives are the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030, the Farm to Fork Strategy, the Zero Pollution Action Plan in relation with the Chemicals Strategy, and the Circular Economy Action Plan. To note as well that Sustainable Finance, Copernicus 2.0 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) process are critical elements of EEA’s operations too. Finally, the upcoming 8th EAP will be instrumental to the European Union’s environmental policy over the years to come.

ETC/ICM Priorities for the year and objectives pursued

The ETC/ICM contribution primarily focuses on:

  • Supporting the implementation of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive, the Water Framework Directive, the Urban Waste Water Directive and the Bathing Water Quality Directive, and the assessment of the state of the environment through data, information and assessment work;
  • Supporting the ecosystem-based management approach to freshwater and marine policy domains, and other related domains such as biodiversity, pollution and chemicals, and climate change adaptation.

Specifically, the ETC/ICM Action Plan (AP) 2021 will include the following clusters of activities:

  • Networking with Eionet and institutional partners, capacity building and QA/QC
  • Indicators: development, proposals, updates
  • Data flows and data analysis - Freshwater policies
  • Data flows and data analysis - Marine and maritime policies
  • Protected areas
  • Pollution, chemicals and health, and data on sectors
  • Assessing ecosystem condition, drivers of change and pressures on ecosystems
  • Solutions and restoration measures for ecosystems impacted by maritime sectors
  • Ecosystems under climate change, water scarcity and droughts
  • Integrated solutions, restoration of ecosystems and ecosystem-based management
  • WISE-Marine and WISE-Freshwater
  • EU and Global governance of ecosystems and natural resources use