About the ETC/ICM

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Main objectives

The European Topic Centre on Inland, Coastal and Marine waters (ETC/ICM) aims to provide support to European Environment Agency (EEA), in particular in areas where EEA contributions to the policy process entails a complex knowledge base and the management of large amounts of data, information and their concise quality assurance, interpretation and assessment. ETC/ICM contributes to following work areas:

1) Monitoring, data and information systems
The ETC/ICM is expected to provide support to EEA in further developing the European Data Centre for Water as main component of the Water Information Centre for Europe (WISE) comprising WISE freshwater and WISE marine. This has to facilitate the data assimilation for EEA needs, and to provide expert support to EEA in coordination activities for European water monitoring. The ETC/ICM is also expected to establish links with other data centers (Biodiversity, Land use, Climate change and Air) and cooperate on analysis and visualisation tool developments across the topics.

2) Indicators
The ETC/ICM has to give support to EEA development of indicators to support regular environmental assessments indicating its state and trends and to support policy processes in the water area (freshwater and marine). The ETC/ICM needs to maintain and develop indicator fact sheets, especially for the core set of indicators, which include an analysis of the trends in the EEA member countries. The work on indicators is interlinked with data and (integrated) analysis and assessments.

3) Policy Support
The ETC/ICM is particularly active in developing the knowledge base for policy implementation at European level. The ETC/ICM needs to support EEA in fulfilling its role regarding the cooperation with the European Commission towards the further implementation of the Water Framework Directive, Marine Strategy Framework Directive and other water directives.

4) Assessments
It is the responsibility of the ETC/ICM to provide the scientific and expert knowledge base for the EEA assessments on different water topics. ETC/ICM is preparing EEA assessment reports in total or via background documents and contributions to the reports.

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ETC/ICM work on different water topics

The expertise and work of the ETC partners covers data handling, spatial and temporal data analysis as well as assessments in areas of freshwater, transitional, coastal, marine waters and maritime issues in the following fields:

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ETC/ICM networking

ETC/ICM expertise is covering also effective networking, cooperation and communication with the countries and other stakeholders. This includes capabilities to effectively network with all institutions and bodies (e.g. regional sea and river conventions, water professionals, NGOs) associated with providing information for the regions covered by the EEA work programme.

The ETC on Inland, Coastal and Marine waters (ETC/ICM) is a part of and support to Eionet (European Environment Information and Observation Network). ETC activities have an important networking-component involving experts in the member countries in the harmonisation, quality assessment and exchange of data and/or information, capacity-building in member countries through country visits and meetings with all Eionet country experts. ETC is sparring partners for countries discussing options for improving national information systems. Networking with member countries also includes their involvement in indicator analysis and assessment. Under the overall leadership of EEA, leading, steering and supervising the work of the ETCs, ETCs are also expected to cooperate among them on crosscutting projects.

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