This deliverable, led by UCC, gives a general overview of the data and information needs, indicators, and tools related to current policy implementation processes.

To do this, the report introduces the structure and existing progress of the Biodiversity Strategy, provides definitions of ecosystem-based management, and considers the data and information needs for implementing an ecosystem-based approach to management. It then reviews information systems and their data relating to freshwater and marine systems. Finally, it provides a critique of existing spatial data infrastructure, data, and information, and provides recommendations for generating an information platform that can promote the goals of the AQUACROSS project and the EU Biodiversity Strategy.

The authors find that while there is a great abundance of relevant data which can or should contribute to the EU Biodiversity Strategy in the aquatic environment, and despite new initiatives to improve integration, the data tend to be very scattered, diffuse and inaccessible. They suggest that the AQUACROSS project, through its Information Platform, which is currently being constructed by IOC-UNESCO, can provide this service for the short-term and for a limited number of case studies. They also make four priority recommendations:

  1. Enable transparency in Members State’s achievements and failures in terms of environmental policy data.
  2. Make available the existing data on fisheries and agricultural pressures that are centrally held by the EU as part of the Common Agricultural Policy and the Common Fisheries Policy.
  3. Fund and maintain single long-term spatial data infrastructure for European natural resource use laws and policies.
  4. Facilitate and encourage INSPIRE compliance.

This deliverable will be essential for the future AQUACROSS Information Platform, which will be built to support an ecosystem-based management approach to biodiversity protection. With its detailed overview of European spatial data and its relevance for biodiversity protection, it will also be relevant to policy makers.