Elaboration of standards and guidelines
Quality criteria for information to be useful at a European scale may be defined according to three aspects: comparability, up-to-dating and aggregation/disaggregation possibilities.
It is necessary to elaborate standards for species and habitats reference lists and recommendations on priority data to collect and spatial units to use.
The ETC/NC work programme includes work on these tasks.
Further surveys of data sources
The survey of sources should be carried on with the countries which have not replied, which have not made enough investigations because of the short deadline and with other dataholders (UNEP-INFOTERRA ...).
The sources related to some of the big groups of species, as Invertebrates for example, and the sources related to the habitats should be analysed further to allow a better assessment of gaps.
Completion of information gaps
Gaps assessment was only carried out at a general level due to lack of time and lack of information on data sources. It would be useful to go into this point more closely.
Collaboration with the Topic Centre on Land Cover might help to improve knowledge on distribution and surface area of the habitats at a general level.
Regarding species, collaboration with the European Atlases and any other geographically broad initiatives, should be developed to support their actions. These sources are actually interesting due to the gathering and the validation of information at European level with inputs from experts networks which are already well established.
The European Environment Agency should encourage the National Focal Points to support national initiatives and to use the commonly agreed standards.
Implementation of a European Information System on Nature
Specifications of the European Nature Information System (EUNIS) have been developed in a preliminary report by ETC/NC. The reflection on the implementation of such a system is made under the frame of a Technical Advisory and Appraisal Group. The assessment of data sources is part of the the task.
The assessment of data sources in Europe reveals two important points:
Dataholders are not always Focal Points, public or governmental organisations, but frequently NGO associations at regional, national or international level.
The quality of these sources depends on their functional ability and their continuity; the quality of the European Information System on Nature depends then on the quality of these sources.
Most dataholders work according to deontological rules (copyright, ...). This will influence the work of the Agency; Proposal for a general framework or guidelines related to the use and the distribution of data in the EEA network is necessary.
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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