The work of EMODnet is directly linked to the European actions by establishing a policy framework for community action covering the seas and oceans grand challenge, and other actions or conventions set up at an international or marine level. The various policies are outlined below.

European level

The European actions, establishing a framework for community action covering the seas and oceans grand challenge, are embedded as shown below:



The Integrated maritime policy

The Integrated maritime policy seeks to provide a more coherent approach to maritime issues, with increased coordination between different policy areas. It focuses on cross-cutting issues that require the coordination of different sectors and actors e.g. marine knowledge:

  • Blue growth, the long term strategy to support sustainable growth in the marine and maritime sectors as a whole (renewable energy equipment, aquaculture and other European economic sectors).
  • Marine data and knowledge, provides access to information on the sea and improve our understanding of how the seas behave, with the aim of helping industry, public authorities and researchers to obtain data and make more effective use of such data in order to develop new products and services.
  • Maritime spatial planning, thecompetition for maritime space has highlighted the need for efficient and sustainable management, to prevent potential conflicts, to support coherent & optimize usage and create synergies between different activities at sea.
  • Integrated maritime surveillance for providing authorities interested or active in maritime surveillance with ways to exchange information and data and give them a better picture of what is happening at sea.
  • Maritime Security strategy, a common framework for relevant authorities at national and European levels to ensure the common development of their specific policies and a European response to maritime threats and risks.
  • Sea basin strategies, each sea region is unique and merits a tailor-made strategy that fosters cooperation between countries.

 The Environmental directives

  • The environmental directives support the long-term strategy of sustainable development, protecting the environment – air, water, nature, biodiversity and so on. The Marine Environmental Directives build on existing EU legislation and include specific elements of the marine environment that are not addressed in other policies. They include complementary actions to understand, diagnostics and create a healthy natural environment:

    • The Marine Strategy Framework Directive aims to achieve the Good Environmental Status (GES) of the EU’s marine waters by 2020 and to protect the resource base upon which marine-related economic and social activities depend. It supports the understanding and diagnostics of the ocean environment, providing the framework for European Member States to adopt marine monitoring strategies.
    • The Water Framework Directive reduces marine pollution from land-based sources and protects ecosystems in coastal and transitional waters, which are vital spawning grounds for many marine fish species.
    • The Habitats and Birds Directive is Europe’s central laws on nature or biodiversity conservation, providing special protection for key sites (the Natura 2000 network), animal species, plant species and habitat types of European importance. This protection will be reinforced with the Marine Directive’s Marine Protected Areas.
    • The Flood Directive assesses whether any of the water courses and coast lines are at risk from flooding, maps the flood extent, assets and humans at risk in these areas, and takes measures to reduce this flood risk.

Other thematic directives

  •  The thematic maritime clusters have been part of a coordinated strategy for decades. Below is the strategy for the fishery and aquaculture sectors:
    • The Common Fishery Policy is a set of rules designed to sustainably manage a common resource, and not damage the marine environment, and ensure that fishing and aquaculture  provide a source of healthy food for EU citizens. Its goal is to foster a dynamic fishing industry and ensure a fair standard of living for fishing communities. It gives equal access to EU waters and fishing grounds and enables fishermen to compete fairly.

International level

  • The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea  (UNCLOS) is the international agreement defining the rights and responsibilities of nations with respect to their use of the world’s oceans. It provides guidelines for businesses, the environment, and the management of marine resources. It establishes the legal status, limits and rules of the territorial sea, of the air space over the territorial sea and of its bed and subsoil.

Med-Sea basin regional level

  • The United Nations Environment Programme as define strategy per regional seas and the Mediterranean was the first region to adopt an Action Plan (MAP) in 1975, aimed at marine pollution control and agreed by contracting parties in the Barcelona Convention. Over the years, its mandate has gradually widened to include integrated coastal zone planning and management.  Today, the Barcelona Convention and MAP are more active than ever. Now called the Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment and the Coastal Region of the Mediterranean, there are 22 Contracting Parties, who are determined to protect the Mediterranean marine and coastal environment, while boosting regional and national plans to achieve sustainable development.
  • The Convention’s main objectives are to:
    1. assess and control marine pollution;
    2. ensure sustainable management of natural marine and coastal resources;
    3. integrate the environment into social and economic development;
    4. protect the marine environment and coastal zones through the prevention and reduction of pollution, and as far as possible, the elimination of pollution, whether land or sea-based;
    5. protect the natural and cultural heritage;
    6. strengthen solidarity among Mediterranean coastal states;
    7. improve the quality of life.POLICY_3
  • The structures responsible for the implementation of the components of MAP are composed of:
    • The MAP Coordinating Unit (MEDU) acts as the Secretariat of the Mediterranean Action Plan. It performs diplomatic, political and communications roles, supervising the main MAP components.
    • The Mediterranean Commission on Sustainable Development (MCSD) assesses of major sustainable development issues of common concern to the countries of the region or set out in international and regional agendas. It puts forward proposals and recommendations to the contracting parties. The MCSD provides a bridge between, on the one hand, global and regional frameworks and, on the other hand, national policies and local actions. The MCSD also enhances cooperation between the countries in the region, and facilitates synergies between the MAP system and other institutions and initiatives concerning the region.
    • The Programme for the Assessment and Control of Marine Pollution in the Mediterranean Region (MED POL) is the scientific and technical component of MAP. It is responsible for the implementation of protocols regarding land-based sources, dumping, and hazardous waste. MED POL assists Mediterranean countries in the formulation and implementation of pollution monitoring programmes, including pollution control measures and the drafting of action plans aimed at eliminating pollution from land-based sources.
    • Six MAP Regional Activity Centres (RACs) assist the Mediterranean coastal states in ratifying, transposing, implementing and enforcing international maritime conventions related to the prevention of, preparedness for and response to marine pollution from ship.
      • REMPEC- Regional marine pollution emergency response centre for the Mediterranean Sea (Malta)
      • BP/RAC – Blue Plan Regional Activity Centre (Sophia Antipolis, France)
      • PAP/RAC – Priority Actions Programme Regional Activity Centre (Split, Croatia)
      • SPA/RAC – Specially Protected Areas Regional Activity Centre (Tunis, Tunisia)
      • INFO/RAC Information Regional Activity Centre (Rome, Italy)
      • CP/RAC – Regional Activity Centre for Cleaner Production (Barcelona, Spain)

Each RAC has its own Coastal Area Management Programme (CAMP) aimed at implementing practical coastal management projects in selected Mediterranean coastal areas, by applying Integrated Coastal Zone Management.