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Strategic Support for the OSPAR Regional Economic and Social Analysis

Strategic Support for the OSPAR Regional Economic and Social Analysis

Ecologic Institute and partner institutes helped the Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic (OSPAR) to strengthen the understanding of the economic and social impacts of the use of the marine environment. In doing so, the consortium supported the ongoing implementation of the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) in the North-East Atlantic and provided input to OSPAR's 15 Contracting Governments for their respective socio-economic analyses, which the Directive requires. The project study is available for download.

The MSFD requires that EU Member States develop strategies to achieve good environmental status (GES) in marine waters by 2020. As one of the first steps to meet GES targets, Member States are required under Article 8 of the MSFD to conduct an Economic and Social Analysis (ESA) of the uses of their marine waters.

The ESAs aim to provide insight into the socio-economic activities in European waters, covering both market and non-market costs and benefits, and also to enable an analysis of the cost of environmental degradation to the marine environment.

The ESAs are to be prepared for Member States' waters as well as marine regions and sub-regions defined within the Directive. One of the four marine regions of the MSFD is the North-East Atlantic Ocean, which has four sub-regions and is roughly equivalent to the marine area covered by the OSPAR convention.

The study contributes to the MSFD ESA process in OSPAR-countries by:

  1. Supporting cooperation and coordination between OSPAR countries to ensure that the ESAs and their results are as comparable as possible, given time and resource constraints
  2. Compiling an overview of the socio-economic uses of marine waters in the OSPAR region (North-East Atlantic) and the associated costs of the environmental degradation based on the countries’ ESA reports
  3. Supporting the ongoing implementation of the MSFD in the OSPAR region
  4. Informing subsequent decision making by Member States in the region across Europe and under international sea conventions.

Within the study, Ecologic Institute compared the typologies of economic activities used by OSPAR members in their ESA in an effort to help coordinate their analyses and support communication. This will help to identify inconsistencies of typologies between countries and the key factors that lie behind this.

The assessment of typologies will therefore help to ensure that country data is comparable and will also allow data to be correctly summarised later in the project, which will enable an overall assessment of the OSPAR region.

Additionally, Ecologic Institute contributed to gathering and assessing social, economic, and environmental (ecosystem services) data for specific maritime sectors and specific countries.

Ecologic Institute also aimed to ensure coordination with current EU-wide initiatives led by the European Environment Agency on data collection and assessments in the topic through its parallel work in the European Topic Centre on Inland Coastal and Marine (ETC-ICM) waters. The link to ETC-ICM was used to ensure data consistency with other sources and also to fill data gaps when necessary.

October 2011 to August 2013
Project ID
Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD), socio-economics, environmental economics, monitoring, OSPAR region, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom