Experiences of forest fires, floods and droughts show how much timely environmental information can make a difference during an emergency. Tackling today's environmental challenges such as adapting to climate change, managing ecosystems and natural resources in a sustainable manner, protecting biodiversity, preventing and managing environmental crises such as floods, forest fires, and water scarcity depend on the assessment of data from a variety of sectors and sources.
This is why it is absolutely vital for the European Union to have an information system based on the latest information and communication technology (ICT) that will provide decision-makers at all levels (local to European) with real-time environmental data, thus allowing them to make immediate and life-saving decisions.
As Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas stated at the launch of the Communication on SEIS in January 2008, "Timely, relevant and reliable information on the environment is absolutely necessary for decision makers to respond to the environmental problems of our time. But this is not enough. Our citizens are also entitled to know if the quality of air and water in their neighbourhood is good enough or if floods, droughts or pollution is risking their property and livelihood. This is the reason we must improve further the way we collect, analyse and communicate information on our environment."
Today, the emerging challenge is to use ICT technologies to improve collaboration between organisations and to facilitate interaction with civil society at large. Without improved collaboration between European public sector organisations, growth and security, jobs and freedom or health and a safe environment will be more difficult to achieve.
Staff Working Document
The "EU Shared Environmental Information System – Implementation Outlook" has been launched on January 25, 2013
Policy-makers need better access to high-quality information about the environment, to use as evidence for policies aiming to improve the quality of the environment and to reduce impacts on it, while safeguarding human health. At the same time, the wider public – including citizens, business, academia and NGOs – needs regular, timely and credible information on the state of the environment in order to make conscious decisions and to be empowered to make changes.
Following on from the SEIS Communication adopted in 2008, this SEIS Implementation Outlook aims to identify any current shortcomings in the quality and flow of environment data and information and to stimulate further steps towards achieving an efficient and useful Shared Environmental Information System. Concretely, the aim is to foster improvements in the streamlining of EU reporting requirements, in the monitoring of information on the implementation of EU environment legislation, on public access to environmental information and on the participation of the public in the collection and dissemination of environment information.