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Joan Edwards

Joan Edwards is the Head of Living Seas at The Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts.

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Commission review gives Member States a ‘must do better’ report for Marine Strategies

Posted: Thursday 20th February 2014 by LivingSeas

Kelp forest- Dan BoltKelp forest- Dan Bolt

Poor implementation, poor coordination, poor integration. This, in a nutshell, is the Commission’s view of progress in implementing the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) so far. Countries across Europe including the UK are showing a complete lack of ambition in achieving Good Environmental Status (GES) of their marine waters in 2020, the overarching goal of the Directive.

The MSFD is the first all-encompassing piece of European legislation specifically aimed at the protection of the marine environment with clear deadlines for its implementation. In 2012, Member States reported on the current condition of their marine waters, defined GES and established targets and indicators to reach and measure GES. Today, the Commission published its review of these reports, and its conclusions are clear: there is a poor level of implementation, a lack in common understanding of what GES really means, and targets that are often weak and non-measurable..The report also points to shortcomings in coordination between countries across regional seas and in the integration with other environmental legislation. The full report can be read here.

The Commission will give recommendations to the Member States on how to address the challenges identified, but does not intend to enforce these. Instead, the Commission will organise a series of regional meetings in order to agree on follow-up actions. Some Member States have already indicated they will only consider taking on board the recommendations at the start of the next MSFD implementation cycle in 2018.

In a week when we have seen a bird wreck of over 11,000 sea birds it makes you wonder how long will it take to achieve GES?

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