The STAGES (Science and Technology Advancing Governance on Good Environmental Status) project will host a Workshop on Needs for Further Research to Support Improved and More Efficient Monitoring Programmes Under the MSFD, from 13-15 May 2013 in Brussels, Belgium.
STAGES is an EC FP7-funded project that is directly responding to a request from DG Environment to put a support action in place to facilitate the implementation of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD). Under the MSFD, EU Member States are expected to assess the overall status of their respective marine environments and to put in place the necessary measures to achieve Good Environmental Status (GES) by 2020.
The workshop is organised by the STAGES partner the Institute of Marine Research (IMR) in close collaboration with the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES ); l’Institut français de recherche pour l'exploitation de la mer (IFREMER); the European Marine Board; the Joint Research Centre (JRC); and the Centro Tecnológico del Mar (CETMAR).
The workshop report will form the basis of the STAGES science-policy reports on needs for further research for the implementation of the MSFD. Participants have been invited from a wide range of interested parties: Regional Seas Commissions (OSPAR, HELCOM and BALTIC); DG RTD; DG Environment; related MSFD projects and initiatives; ICES; JRC-ICES task groups; and relevant Member State competent authorities.
A consultation process is underway prior to the workshop that will help to identify research needs regarding monitoring programmes for the 11 Good Environmental Status (GES) descriptors. This consultation will inform the workshop focus of the five Thematic Group discussions: the Biodiversity Group; the Contaminants & Nutrients Group; the Disturbances Group; the Commercially Exploited Fish Group; and the Hydrographical Conditions Group.
"This is the first in a series of three STAGES workshops that will investigate the needs for further research to support the implementation of the MSFD. We expect that it will lead to greater understanding of current knowledge gaps and associated uncertainties in relation to monitoring programmes. The outputs from the workshop will help us to assess what is required to adapt and upgrade monitoring programmes, and to produce a list of needs for further research and methodological development to inform future research programmes, as well as managers and decision makers," explained Marisa Fernández of CETMAR, the STAGES coordinating partner.
Two more STAGES workshops, The Identification of Research Needs with Regard to the Pressures and their Impacts on Marine Ecosystems and The Identification of Research Needs with Regard to Socio-Economic Analysis will be held later this year (provisionally scheduled for September and October).
In other STAGES-related news, a Steering Committee meeting was held on 13 March at CETMAR's headquarters in Vigo, Spain. The committee reviewed the project's first period of activity and planned for the next phase. Several significant milestones have already been achieved across the project's work packages, including:
- The development of a MFSD-related stakeholder database containing more than 400 organisations and 550 contact persons across Europe.
- Identification (through a desktop study) of more than 1,500 European-funded projects and 2,000 Member State projects that might have a potential relevance to the MSFD which are currently being asked to complete a survey to elaborate on their objectives and expected results.
- Engagement with more than 100 institutions across Member States to request assistance in identifying nationally-funded projects with a relevance to the MSFD.
- The launch of a project website, brochure and factsheet to introduce the project to marine stakeholders and wider society.
- The preparation for an expert workshop on research gaps related to the MSFD monitoring programmes.
The STAGES project is being carried out by a consortium of eight partners in seven countries and is being coordinated by the Centro Tecnológico del Mar (CETMAR) in Spain. STAGES has received funding from the European Union Seventh Framework Programme.
Contact: Marisa Fernández Cañamero, STAGES Coordinator.