Introductory workshop on marine strategy framework directive

Date: 25-26.09.2014
Place: Tirana, Albania
Organizer: ECRAN Secretariat with EC TAIEX Unit

The Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) is the first all-encompassing piece of European legislation specifically aimed at the protection of the marine environment. Its ultimate objective is to achieve a Good Environmental Status (GES) in all European waters by 2020 (articles 8, 9 and 10 at the latest. of the MSFD).

The Directive foresees the implementation of an ecosystem-based approach to the management of activities having an impact on the marine environment. Each Member State has to work to implement measures both at the national (Marine Strategies) and regional scale, through regional cooperation and the use, when appropriate, of existing Regional Sea Conventions such as HELCOM, BARCOM, and OSPAR.

The MSFD also recognizes the precautionary principle and requests the application of an ecosystem- based approach to the management of human activities in order to minimize their impacts on the marine ecosystems.

To ensure that human induced pressures are kept within levels compatible with the achievement of GES, while enabling the sustainable use of marine goods and services by present and future generations, methodological standards, criteria and indicators have been adopted to ensure consistency when Member States fulfil their obligations under the Directive. In determining their GES, 11 following qualitative descriptors were developed: Biological diversity, non-indigenous species, population of commercial fish / shell fish, elements of marine food webs, eutrophication, sea floor integrity, alteration of hydrographical conditions, contaminants, contaminants in fish and seafood for human consumption, marine litter, introduction of energy, including underwater noise.

Each MS, in cooperation with other MS and non-MS, should develop strategies for their marine waters. The marine strategies must contain a detailed assessment of the state of the environment, a definition of "good environmental status" at regional level and the establishment of clear environmental targets and monitoring programs. Each MS must develop a program of cost-effective measures. Prior to any new measure, an impact assessment which contains a detailed cost-benefit analysis of the proposed measures is required. Thus, the goal of the Marine Strategy Directive is in line with the objectives of the WFD.

The result of the preparatory phase shows that more efforts are urgently needed if the EU is to reach its goal.

An introductory workshop is foreseen to present and discuss MSDF objectives, steps toward its implementation, state of the art in selected MS, to facilitate select ion of topics of a common interest for joint regional training and for one country select a specific topic for tailor made training on the key points of Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) and Marine Strategy Framework Directive implementation, as well as to inform on ongoing projects under MSFD for the Black Sea and Mediterranean Sea.

The introductory workshop should help to establish fruitful working environment, determine appropriate approach to enhance beneficiary capacities to implement MSDF and to encourage dialogue and coordination between beneficiaries’ experts in the international context and improve international cooperation, as marine waters are international and marine strategies should be drawn up together with other Member MS and non-MS.

Objectives of the training:

Wider Objectives:

• To build the capacities of the beneficiary countries in the area of ICZM and MSFD implementation;
• To exchange experience through the delivery of workshops and regional training on the synergy, overlaps and differences between WFD and MSDF as it would be very valuable to the Western Balkan countries, even though some of them are not marine countries.

The focus of the introductory workshop will be given to the following:
Specific objectives:

• To establish common understanding on main terms, definitions and principles of MSDF.
• To present and discuss a basic requirement of MSFD.
• To present and discuss synergy, overlaps and differences between WFD and MSDF.
• To present and discuss policy, institutional and organisational arrangements for implementing MSDF.
• To inform on ongoing projects under MSFD for the Black Sea and Mediterranean Sea.
• To propose and discuss the topics of a common interest and facilitate selection process.
• To propose and discuss the specific topic to be a subject of the tailor-made training for one country.
• To agree on next steps and work plan.