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Conclusions of the Conference Sharing Environmental Information

Brussels, 29/11/2010 – 01/12/2010

The participants of the conference “Sharing Environmental Information”, organised under the umbrella of the Belgian Presidency jointly between Belgium and the European Environment Agency (EEA), including representatives from the EEA member and cooperating countries, EEA and the European Commission, have considered the issues at stake for the Shared Environmental Information System (SEIS) implementation.

The participants acknowledge the responsibility of the EEA and the countries in the development of the regular European Environment State and Outlook Report (SOER) and in the establishment and management of existing European and national environmental information systems.

The mandate and tasks of the EEA and the European Environmental Information and Observation Network (EIONET) as listed in Council Regulation 401/20091 from April 23 2009 is emphasised.

The conference participants agree on the following conclusions:

  1. There is a need for streamlining reporting mechanisms at both European and global levels, including streamlining of environmental data, indicators and information according to the ‘collect once and use many’ principle.

  2. Taking note of the SEIS Implementation Plan currently under development, the Commission is encouraged to publish it as soon as possible. In order to ensure the broad support from EEA countries, EU institutions, and the European Environmental Data Centres, the proper involvement of all stakeholders is emphasised in its development and implementation. To secure the sustainability of the processes, the importance of shared ownership with the countries is recognised.

  3. The sharing of environmental data, information and assessments through an appropriate involvement of all levels of governance is endorsed. This also reflects the principle that ‘data and information should be kept as close as possible to the source’.

  4. The SOER and ‘Shared European and National State of the Environment’ (SENSE) processes have been a valuable exercise. After some time of reflection, next steps should be envisaged as the experiences are useful for other activities of the SEIS implementation. It is recognised that SEIS, through the use of relevant Information Communication Technology (ICT), should be closely connected to the digital agenda for Europe2 as part of the EU strategy 2020.

  5. The benefit of mutually supportive interaction between SEIS, Infrastructure for Spatial Information in Europe (INSPIRE) and Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) processes is emphasised. A further clarification of their complementary purposes would be welcomed; and the benefits of collaboration and exchange of information is considered very important.

  6. It is necessary that the countries support and strengthen the environmental aspects of the INSPIRE implementation process through appropriate national coordination mechanisms.

  7. It is acknowledged that GMES provides opportunities to establish information services offering data and information complementary to existing processes. In addition, the GMES user forum should be used to make these information services entirely user driven and tailored to the needs of the countries.

  8. Initiatives towards enhancing the availability of data and information produced or commissioned by government or government controlled entities such as the Open Government data initiative3 is welcomed.

  9. To improve the awareness, understanding and acknowledgement of the various different information processes, it is important that effective communication continuously is offered to all involved stakeholders.

  10. It is agreed that SEIS Implementation should not put additional strain on state budgets, but help ensure cost-efficiency in the handling of environmental data and information.





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