Biodiversity and marine resources
I am delighted to have this opportunity to talk to you about the biodiversity and the sustainability of marine resources in the 21st century. Let me first open my presentation with a quote from the ongoing UN General Assembly’s Assessment of Assessments of the Marine Environment:
“The world’s oceans constitute more than 70% of the surface of our planet and provide a broad and life-supporting range of ecosystem services and goods upon which humankind depends. Oceans provide provisioning services and goods such as food, genetic resources, natural medicines; regulating services, being the primary regulator of global climate. They support major industries such as shipping, tourism and commercial fisheries. Besides their multiple other uses; they offer cultural services, which have enormous spiritual, aesthetic and recreational value.”
Ocean and coastal ecosystems are being threatened by an unprecedented range of pressures from pollution including land-based coastal and marine pollution due to poorly managed sewage and industrial waste and agricultural run-off, fragmentation and habitat loss through unsustainable extraction practices and industrial zonation, over-exploitation of marine resources, invasive species infestations and climate change. The impacts of these pressures have been widespread and generally adverse: over the past 50 years we have observed declines in the abundance of many high-profile commercially important marine species, loss of genetic diversity, detected alterations in ecosystem functioning and reductions in critical habitats such as coral reefs, coastal wetlands and mangroves.
The future of our oceans and coastal waters thus depends on:
- our ability to achieve a far higher level of understanding of the dynamics and distribution of marine resources through an ecosystem-based approach;
- their interactions with the ongoing and forthcoming effects of climate change;
- less damaging technologies for resource exploration, extraction and harvesting;
- better regional and international governance; and,
- an integrated policy response to ocean and costal issues.
THE STATE OF TODAY’S MARINE ECOSYSTEMS
Many high profile species in the marine environment indeed face extinction, while coral reefs and other coastal and offshore ecosystems are already changing their species makeup as a result of the enormous pressure from both human activities and climate change. The idea that losing a few species will not affect the overall functioning of the marine environment is widespread, and comes with the assumption that “normal service will soon be resumed”. However, as fishermen around the world have come to know, this is rarely the case.
The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment looked at the earth’s ecosystem services, using the conceptual framework of supporting, provisioning, regulating and cultural services linked to the constituents of well-being , i.e. security, basic material for good life, health, good social relations and freedom of choice and action, and found that 60% had been degraded in the last fifty years.
In the marine environment, some 30% of coral reefs – which often have higher levels of biodiversity than tropical forests – have been seriously damaged through fishing, pollution, disease and coral bleaching. 35% of mangroves have disappeared over the past two decades and in some cases up to 80% have been lost nationally through conversion to aquaculture and storms.
More than a billion people rely on fisheries as their main source of protein, but more than 50% of wild marine fisheries are fully exploited, with a further 25% over-exploited. Fishing down the food chain is now a worldwide phenomenon, as stocks of high-trophic species are depleted leading to phytoplankton and invertebrate dominated ecosystems. Smaller pelagic species are still used as fish meal and oil for aquaculture and to feed poultry and pigs, and the massive increases in aquaculture to support the 20% increase in world fish consumption are highly dependent on marine fish as input.
The shifts in marine ecosystems towards jellyfish dominated planktivorous systems are of great concern as they indicate that shifts across thresholds to systems, in which the jellyfish suppress their fish competitors by eating their eggs, can occur. The idea that these changes can be reversed and fishing patterns resumed does not seem to be possible at this time. Thus a loss of species can also lead to a loss of resilience and a loss in some instances of productivity with dire socioeconomic consequences. Worm and colleagues estimated in 2006 that all of the world’s commercial fisheries are likely to have collapsed in less than 50 years unless current trends are reversed. They found that low diversity is associated with lower fishery productivity, more frequent “collapses” and lower tendency to recover after over-fishing than naturally species-rich systems.
The security value of biodiversity can be compared with financial markets. A diverse portfolio of species stocks and services, as with business stocks, can provide a buffer against fluctuations in the environment that causes declines in individual stocks. The stabilising effect of a biodiverse and service diverse portfolio is especially important as environmental change accelerates with global warming and other impacts. In the face of the widespread losses of biodiversity and services, building an economy around fish-based futures and potential marine commodity prices without radical reform to its governance looks increasingly unwise and certainly reflects a lack of precaution!
The consequences of marine biodiversity loss however are not being equitably shared. Fishermen and the coastal poor face the most serious risks from this degradation and the imbalance is likely to grow. The Millennium Development Goals represent the world’s ambition to attack poverty; the evidence is that to achieve them requires good governance and sound environmental practice. And yet as I will now discuss management of marine resources is sadly lacking in both in many parts of the world.
The main difficulty arises from the fact that so many interests are concerned: fishing, aquaculture, shipping, oil and gas extraction, minerals mining, defence, tourism, pharmaceuticals, construction and so on. Halpern and colleagues showed, albeit in a rather naïve way, that the cumulative impacts of all these pressures, even artisanal fishing, are overwhelmingly negative all around the world.
And if we look at impacts in the open ocean, far away from national jurisdiction, the signs are very similar. Evidence of the effects of temperature changes, ice cover loss, emergence of plastics in microscopic form and even the successors to TBT within oceanic food chains in remote regions of the world.
The Arctic Ocean is a good example of all these phenomena. In today’s industrialized economies, many of the goods and services provided by ecosystems in the conventional market economy are currently valueless. But if the resilience of our ecosystems is continually undermined, these goods and services will become eventually unattainable and hence priceless. No future economy can stand this. Moreover there will be huge consequences for jobs, health and standards of living. The melting of the ice cap and the reduction of summer sea-ice cover is leading to a change in ecosystem structure and with it, a partial loss of biological resilience, witness the plight of the polar bear in certain areas. At the same time, an entirely new planetary-scale ecosystem is being ‘built’ as the lid of sea ice is being gradually removed at key times of solar insolation. To enable the resilience of this new Arctic marine ecosystem to become established, sovereign states will need to show restraint in how they intend to exploit the Arctic.
THE INTERNATIONAL REGIME
How should we proceed? There are of course a wide variety of fisheries regulatory bodies, commissions, intergovernmental bodies and multilateral environment agreements in existence. But I believe that the very diversity and enormous number mitigates against any effective form of governance of the marine environment. This was evidenced in 2006 when the focus of the international community was shifting towards an integrated response and better co-ordination at the global level to tackle the multiple threats to oceans. At the Convention of Biological Diversity’s eighth Conference of the Parties in March 2006, the discussions were overtaken by the question of the CBD mandate in regards to other international organisations. The Conference concluded that the CBD should concentrate on providing scientific and technical information and advice related to marine biodiversity, advising on the application of the ecosystem and precautionary approaches, and delivering the target to reduce the current rate of biodiversity loss by 2010. This newly defined role was aimed at complementing the General Assembly’s capacity to steer ocean and biodiversity related agencies, treaty bodies and fora.
In line with this, the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, technical and Technological Advice for the Convention prepared an excellent series of papers and expert workshops on a series of critical subjects relating to coastal, deep sea and open ocean ecosystems and biodiversity. They provided the scientific evidence used to prepare an options paper by the Executive Secretary on preventing and mitigating the impacts of some activities to selected seabed habitats and ecological criteria and biogeographic classification systems for marine areas in need of protection . The issues were discussed by the SBSTTA-13 in February 2008 but were strenuously resisted by countries such as Argentina, Brazil and others. Their resistance has led to the blocking of decisions and critical recommendations by the scientific community within SBSTTA, that would have been examined during COP-9 in two weeks time, to protect biodiversity and safeguard the future of many marine ecosystems.Taking action on marine biodiversity outside national jurisdiction seems to have been cancelled! Divide and conquer seems to be the rule of the day.
Globally there are a lot of inconvenient facts that are related to our actions and management of the planet, and especially the marine environment. The tipping points widely talked about by climate change communities demands that we seriously reconsider the lack of willingness to intervene, not least because the cost of inaction is likely to be far in excess of the costs of action.
WHY SHOULD EUROPE CARE?
Europe has an important role to play here at the COP9 indeed the future of our oceans now depends – crucially – on Europe’s ability to take a lead towards sustainability policies for not only its own seas but also its impacts on others around the world.
Why Europe? The European Union has been a major force for protecting the world we live in; it is unlikely to stop now in relation to the marine environment. Why now?
- First, that goods and services from pan-European marine and coastal ecosystems support major economic activities. In 2004 the EU-15 marine industry had an estimated value of EUR 310 billion. Moreover, we should add to that other, less obvious, services including climate change regulation, flood protection, nutrient recycling and harbouring a wide array of animal and plant species.
- Second, that EU policies and action from regional sea conventions have led to improvements in water quality in the western seas. But a single-issue approach is not enough to halt or reverse the generally poor state of marine and coastal ecosystems. What is needed is an ecosystem-based approach to the management of human activities looking at the marine environment as a whole.
- Third, the state of the Black and Caspian Seas is worse than the western seas. This is partly due to the weakness of environmental regulation, but also partly due to their natural vulnerability.
- Fourth, eutrophication remains a major problem in all enclosed seas and sheltered marine areas across the pan-European region.
- Fifth, overfishing is rife. Stocks in the North, Celtic and Black Seas are in the poorest condition, while stocks around Iceland and east Greenland are in the best. We also highlighted the wider impacts of increasing aquaculture.
- Sixth, while major accidental oil spills have generally decreased in pan-European seas, the expected increase in oil transport in the Arctic, Baltic, Black, Caspian and Mediterranean Seas significantly increases the risk of regional oil pollution.
- Seventh, climate change will very likely cause large scale alterations in sea temperature, sea level, sea ice-cover, currents and the chemical properties of the seas.
- Eighth, coastal areas are under growing pressures from urbanisation, infrastructure stemming form huge economic restructuring, weakening further coastal and marine ecosystems.
Europe is thus putting in place legislation to protect its marine environment and monitoring and observing systems to collect more and better data to develop and/or implement a pan-European marine protection framework that addresses environmental issues in a cost-effective way.
In Europe, coastal and open ocean ecosystems provide a wide range of services to society. As coasts have increasingly assumed a 'gateway' function in global trade and logistics, they have become more and more developed and ecosystem services have been degraded as a result.
These trends are important because such services represent a significant proportion of the total economic value of coastal zones. If there are disruptions in these natural functions, the processes of degradation will progressively accelerate and make any possible response from society difficult. These natural functions cannot be replaced by technology.
To date, development on the European coasts has been based on economic restructuring. This has been achieved mainly through tourism and the associated boom in construction, especially in the Mediterranean and Atlantic regions. In other regions, priority has been given to the economic restructuring of the fishing industry, due to the dramatic decline in fish stocks. Also, increases in the number of harbours and the amount of maritime transport have led to the emergence of coasts as logistical platforms. At the same time, urban sprawl, resort and port development, and aquaculture are directly affecting ecosystems. Their effects extend beyond the direct impacts of pollution, sedimentation and changes in coastal dynamics. Destructive fishing practices, overharvesting of coastal sea-beds, climate change and sea level rise are also important threats to coastal habitats, such as extensive farmlands, wetlands and sea-grass beds.
Coastal regions face an additional threat from climate change. The various non-climatic pressures that I just mentioned may have already affected adversely the long term viability of coastal ecosystems and hence their ability to cope with the additional pressures of climate change.
RECENT EUROPEAN POLICY ACTIONS
Since 1995, concern about the state of European coastline has led to a number of EU initiatives, which build on the concept of integrated coastal zone management (ICZM). ICZM attempts to balance the needs of development with protection of the very resources that sustain coastal economies. The European Marine Framework Strategy Directive strategy also addresses these issues by promoting an ecosystem-based approach and proposing Marine regions. The EU has also embarked on the development of a Maritime policy. All of these new policy developments have the potential to contribute to improving the integrated management of coasts and their ecosystems throughout Europe and certainly with its neighbours in the Barents and other areas. A key measure of success will be the design of coherent actions across these policies and their implementation through improved governance mechanisms.
We do not have as yet a knowledge base that is systematic and comprehensive enough to adequately assess the status of Europe’s seas, and as a result, we are limited in terms of designing management regimes to enhance or restore their health. This is where science and research have a key role to play.
The implementation of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive should be seen as providing the impetus needed to close such gaps in our knowledge, thereby improving on and adding to the management measures adopted so far by regional sea Conventions and from existing EU policies, such as the Common Fisheries Policy. These are currently not based on an ecosystem approach and, as we know from the ongoing decline in many marine fish stocks, have been difficult to put into effect or enforce.
The Marine Strategy Framework Directive has an ambitious objective of achieving “good environmental status” in all European marine waters by 2020. Whether we are in a position today to articulate in concrete terms what “good environmental status” means beyond the general descriptors included in the Directive, it is clear that we know enough about what we DO NOT WANT.
This innovative and holistic approach aims to provide a coherent policy framework that will allow for the optimal development of all ocean and sea-related activities in a sustainable manner in the face of challenges of globalisation and competitiveness, climate change, degradation of the marine environment, maritime safety and security, energy and sustainability matters. Data and information are needed to inform on and assess the growing competing uses of the sea, ranging from maritime transport, fishing, aquaculture, leisure activities, off-shore energy production and other forms of sea bed exploitation, also in the context of meeting the ‘good environmental status’ objective of the MSFD. These are the some of the key elements that are also needed for a strong policy for the marine environment within the CBD.
Thank you for your attention.
Explanatory Note on the UNGA Assessment of Assessments
At the United Nations General Assembly in 2002, Member States called for the establishment of a Regular Process under the United Nations for global reporting and assessment of the state of the marine environment, including socio-economic aspects, both current and foreseeable, building on existing regional assessments.
In 2006 the United Nations General Assembly noted for the marine environment: “that continued environmental degradation in many parts of the world and increasingly competing demands require an urgent response and the setting of priorities for management interventions aimed at conserving ecosystem integrity; and “that ecosystem approaches to ocean management should be focused on managing human activities in order to maintain and, where needed, restore ecosystem health to sustain goods and environmental services, provide social and economic benefits for food security, sustain livelihoods in support of international development goals, …and conserve marine biodiversity” (UNGA 61/222).
The initial step has been to launch the “Assessment of Assessments” (AoA) as a preparatory stage towards the establishment of the Regular Process, and undertake a critical analysis of the marine environmental assessment landscape. In doing so, a framework and options for a regular process based on current relevant assessment processes and practices would be examined. The AoA would consider assessments in light of certain criteria including scientific credibility, policy relevance, legitimacy and usefulness so as to:
identify best practices and approaches for assessments of the marine environment;
appraise methodologies used in assessments and examine how to integrate specialized assessment components at different scales;
elaborate on the needs for strengthened assessment processes and determine support for monitoring, networking and capacity building;
highlight uncertainties in scientific knowledge as well as data gaps and opportunities for these;
consider how well the assessments have been communicated to policy-makers at the national, regional and global levels.
The AoA is halfway through its work. It has assembled information on the many hundreds of relevant existing marine and coastal environmental assessments (including their ecological, social and economic aspects) that are being carried out by global, regional intergovernmental organizations and other relevant organizations, complemented by available selected national assessments with broad geographical representation. The extent to which the existing range of assessment mechanisms analyse the effectiveness of existing policies, and the best means to make the regular process relevant to policy without being policy prescriptive is also being looked at.
In view of the emphasis given by the General Assembly to building on existing regional assessments for the Regular Process, a list of 21 regions was adopted as a basis for reviewing existing assessments. The work used the results of two preparatory studies: Global Marine Assessments: A survey of global and regional marine environmental assessments and related scientific activities (UNEP-WCMC/UNEP/UNESCO-IOC 2003 and 2007). The regions are based on both bio-geographic factors and administrative structures and delineated with a view to avoiding unnecessary overlaps while ensuring global coverage. No precise boundaries are established between the AoA regions and the High Seas are also covered in the review. Three land-locked seas are excluded: the Aral Sea, the Caspian Sea, and the Dead Sea. These bodies of water are distinct from the “enclosed or semi-enclosed” seas, as defined in the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. Article 122 provides that ““enclosed or semi-enclosed sea” means a gulf, basin or sea surrounded by two or more States and connected to another sea or the ocean by a narrow outlet or consisting entirely or primarily of the territorial seas and exclusive economic zones of two or more coastal States.” See paras 12-14 in Annex II.
The regions take into account:
existing regional mechanisms (e.g., Regional Seas organizations, regional fisheries management organizations, Large Marine Ecosystem (LME) programmes) that have permanent, government-recognised structures;
an ecologically sensible delineation conducive to an ecosystem approach, for example LME or groupings of linked LMEs;
ready accommodation of past or existing monitoring and assessment programmes;
an administratively manageable number of regional units; and
the need to ensure coverage of areas within and beyond national jurisdiction, including all ocean basins.
The conceptual approach that the AoA relies on is Drivers-Pressures-State-Impact-Response (DPSIR) set within the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment’s framework of the linkages between ecosystem services and human well-being. Together they reflect the complex chain of cause-and-effect that characterizes the interactions between society, the environment. And the services provided by ecosystems. Environmental changes are caused by drivers and pressures, but they also affect each other. These changes interact with, social and economic factors in determining human well-being. Responses include measures by society for mitigating and adapting to environmental changes.
AHSG, 2006, Decision adopted by the Ad Hoc Steering Group for the “assessment of assessments” of the regular process for global reporting and assessment of the state of the marine environment, including socio-economic aspects at its first meeting, Annex II, UN Doc.
A/61/GRAME/AHSG/1 (2006).; and Conclusions of the Second International Workshop on a Regular Process, Annex to UN Doc. A/60/91 (2005), as endorsed in UNGA Resolution 60/30, para. 89.
UNEP (in press 2008). The UNEP Large Marine Ecosystem Report: A Perspective on Changing Conditions in LMEs of the World's Regional seas. (eds.) K. Sherman and G.Hempel.
 See explanatory note. [UNGA 61/222, United Nations General Assembly Resolution 61/222 (2006), paras. 119 (a) and (b) ]
 Annual marine fish catches, at close to 85 million tonnes, are an important part of the GDP and food security of many countries [FAO 2005, "Review of the state of world marine fishery resources" Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Rome, 2005].The diversity of bottom dwelling species in the deep-sea has been estimated to be between 500,000 and 100 million species [Koslow A.J, Snelgrove PVR, J.A,Juniper SK. 2004 Review of the benthic biodiversity of the deep sea. CSIRO Marine Research, Australia 2001. In: Gianni, M. (2004). High seas bottom trawl fisheries and their impacts on the biodiversity of vulnerable deep-sea ecosystems: Options for international action. World Conservation Union (IUCN), Gland]. Many marine organisms have been harvested not only as a source of protein, but also for medicinal purposes – for instance reef organisms have provided an HIV treatment and a painkiller, while a large part of current cancer drug research focuses on coral reef species [Millennium Ecosystem Assessment 2005. Ecosystems and Human Well-being: Synthesis. Island Press, Washington DC. 137 pp]. Oceans represent a key component of the planet’s hydrological cycle and are an essential sink for greenhouse gases. Shipping has grown over the past twenty years rising from 4 bt in 1990 to 7.1 bt total goods loaded in 2005 [UNCTAD 2006. Review of Maritime Transport. United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, New York and Geneva ]. In coastal areas, estimates of the annual market value of capture fisheries supported by mangroves ranges from US$750 to 16,750 per hectare [Ronnback, P. 1999 The ecological basis for economic value of seafood production supported by mangrove ecosystems, Ecological Economics 29: 235-252]. Of the world’s 33 mega-cites, 21 are located in coastal areas [Klein, R.J.T, Nicholls R.J. and Thomalla. E 2003. Resilience to Weather-Related Hazards: How Useful is this Concept? In Global Environmental; Change Part B: Environmental Hazards 5: 35-45]
 The spread of invasive alien species is recognized as a major threat to ecosystems and can have devastating economic and social consequences. For example, the comb jelly, Mnemiopsis leidyi, was accidentally introduced into the Black Sea in 1982, resulting in the destruction of 26 commercial fisheries within 10 years [Siganova and Vadim 2003 Invasive species Mnemiopsis leidyi. Prepared for the Group on Aquatic Alien Species]
 Changes in the climate-ocean system are also occurring. Although not always statistically significant, observations indicate an increase in the average temperature of the oceans at depths of at least 3,000 metres, an average rise in sea level of 1.8mm/year from 1961 to 2003, and about 3.1mm/year from 1993 [Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. Summary for Policy Makers. Contribution of
Working Group 1 to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Geneva]. Recently, studies on higher levels of carbon dioxide, linked to ocean acidification, have been shown to have an impact on a variety of marine organisms, in particular calcifying organisms (Langdon et al. 2003 Effect of elevated CO2 on the community metabolism of an experimental coral reef. Global Biogeochemical Cycles 17: 1011; Gattuso et al. 1998 Effect of calicium carbonoate saturation of seawter on coral calcification. Gloaal planet Change 18: 37-46; Riebesell et al. 2000 Reduced calcification in marine plankton in response to increased atmospheric CO2. Nature 407: 634-637]. It is projected that the skeletons of coldwater coral reefs may dissolve, perhaps already within a few decades [Nellemann C. Hain, S, and Alder, J. (eds). 2008. In Dead Water – Merging of climate change with pollution, over-harvest, and infestations in the world’s fishing grounds. United Nations Environment Programme, GRID-Arendal, Norway]. Extended periods of higher water temperatures have also led to widespread bleaching of coral reefs and have caused alterations in species distribution and abundance – for instance, cod stocks in the North Sea are decreasing at a rate that cannot be explained by over-fishing alone. Today, the upper limit of the thermal tolerance window has already been reached there, with the result that populations are moving northward [Arctic Climate Impact Assessment. 2005, Arctic Climate Impact Assessment. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, New York.] The decrease of cod correlates significantly with the changed species assemblage, stock decline and smaller average body size of the zooplankton which can probably be attributed to climate change. [Beaugrand, G and Reid, P C 2003 Long-term changes in phytoplankton, zooplankton and salmon related to climate. Global Change Biology 9: pp 801–17. In: The Future of Oceans – Warming Up, Rising High, Turning Sour. German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU), Special Report 2006].
 For example, a shift in the composition of symbiotic algae has been observed in corals as a response to acclimatize after periods of higher water temperatures has left them bleached by Berkelmans et al. 2008 Proceedings of the Royal Society London B doi:10.1098/rspb.2008.0069.
 The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (Interim Report, Convention on Biodiversity COP9 Bonn May 29, 2008). Marine fisheries are a particular case where subsidies are driving many commercially important species to extinction [Sumaila and Pauly 2008 Nature 450: 945].
 Millennium Ecosystem Assessment 2005. Ecosystems and Human Well-being: Synthesis. Island Press, Washington DC. 137 pp.
 Wilkinson, C. Status of the Coral Reefs off the World ( 2004). See also International Year of the Coral Reef 2008.
 Fishing down the foodweb was a concept developed by Danial Pauly and colleagues at the Fisheries Centre, University of British Columbia. Duffy and Emmett have look marine biodiversity and food security in the Encyclopedia of Earth
 Worm, B., et al.. 2006 Impacts of biodiversity loss on ocean ecosystem services. Science 314: 787-790.
 Halpern et al. 2008a Science 319: 948. Halpern et al. 2008b. Ocean and Coastal Management 51:, 203-211.
 See the results of the EU funded research programme HERMES (Hotspot Ecosystems Research on the Margins of the European Seas) at www.eu-hermes.net. Also van den Hove and Moreau 2007 Deep-sea biodiversity and ecosystems: a scoping report on their socio-economy, management and governance, UNEP.
 Synthesis and review of the best available scientific studies on priority areas for biodiversity conservation in marine areas beyond the limits of national jurisdiction UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/13/INF/11 13 November 2007. Development of an interactive map (IMAP) and review of spatial databases containing information on marine areas beyond the limits of national jurisdiction UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/13/INF/12 13 January 2008. Report of the Expert Workshop on ecological criteria and biogeographic classification systems for marine areas in need of protection UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/13/INF/14 13 November 2007 As background documents to Options for preventing and mitigating the impacts of some activities to selected seabed habitats and ecological criteria and biogeographic classification systems for marine areas in need of protection UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/13/4 13 November 2007.
 The blocking by these countries has led to a plethora of square brackets in the text before the COP9 for Marine and Coastal Biodiversity in the Annex to the Executive Secretary’s options paper.
For references, please go to www.eea.europa.eu/soer or scan the QR code.
This briefing is part of the EEA's report The European Environment - State and Outlook 2015. The EEA is an official agency of the EU, tasked with providing information on Europe's environment.
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