Maritime Forum

Maritime Forum Themes


First meeting between the International Hydrographic Organization and the European Commission under the aegis of the MoU signed on 23 April 2012

Event date:
10/10/2012 - 08:00
Table of Contents



    Participants & Welcoming address


    This was the first meeting between the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) and the European Commission (EC) under the aegis of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed on 23 April 2012. It was attended by:

    • Matthew King, DG Mare, C1 (Maritime Policy, Atlantic, outermost regions and Arctic),
    • Michele Avino, DG Move,
    • David Connor, DG Env,
    • Christina Lopez, DG Mare, C7 (EMODnet expert),
    • Torsten Riedlinger, DG Entr,
    • Iain Shepherd, DG Mare,
    • Martin Zeitler, DG Regio,
    • Gilles Bessero, International Hydrographic Bureau (IHB), Director,
    • Paul Canham, Hydrographic Office (HO) of United Kingdom,
    • Bruno Frachon, HO of France, Director General,
    • Thibaud Genty, HO of France,
    • Yves Guillam, HO of France,
    • Gerhard Heggebo, HO of Norway,
    • Mathias Jonas, HO of Germany, National Hydrographer
    • Yves-Henri Renhas, HO of France.
    • Magnus Wallhagen, HO of Sweden.

    Matthew King welcomed the participants on behalf of DG-MARE. As it was the first meeting, everybody introduced himself and the draft agenda was adopted.

    agenda IHO EC meeting.doc

    Introduction, background and objectives

    EC IHO 10 Oct 2012- intro_YG2.ppt

    For the benefit of the representatives of the different Directorates-General (DG) of the European Commission, Yves Guillam presented the background, from the acknowledgment within the North Sea Hydrographic Commission of the importance of EU marine and maritime policies in 2007 to the signature of a Memorandum of Understanding between the IHO and the EC in April 2012. Amongst 14 Regional Hydrographic Commissions, 6 of them involve EU sea areas. Then, the group agreed on the objectives for the meeting (mutual knowledge, priorities in the IHO and HOs programmes of work, business models, EU priorities on Marine Knowledge, etc.).

    Results from the first phase of the European Marine Observation and Data Network: the second phase of EMODnet


    Iain Shepherd presented the background and some results of EMODnet and introduced the way ahead. He pointed out the contrast between the response of a homogenous consortium of national geological survey organizations to provide the geological layer and the response of a heterogeneous mixture of HOs, research institutes and private companies, in which the concerned nations are not all represented, to provide the hydrographic layer. He emphasised the potential contribution of blue growth to the overall growth in EU and the need of marine knowledge in supporting this growth. Construction of a (1/8’) gridded digital terrain model covering all European waters has started and will be available in 2014. Lower resolution data from sources such as GEBCO will fill in the areas where higher resolution survey data are not available.

    Baltic Sea DataBase and MonaLisa e-navigation projects

    Meeting IHO BSHC EU 10 Oct 2012.pptx

    Magnus Wallhagen presented both of these projects. The Baltic Sea is surrounded by 9 coastal States which cooperate on hydrographic matters through the Baltic Sea Hydrographic Commission. This is a good example of the coordination role of Regional Hydrographic Commissions (RHCs) in assessing the state of knowledge, assessing the needs, and programming new surveys. Through the MonaLisa project HOs are also involved in e-navigation developments.

    Bringing Land and Sea together (BLAST project)

    TheBLASTproject_GerhardHeggebo_ NorwegianHydrograpicService_10-10-2012.pdf

    Gerhard Heggebo presented the BLAST project. This was a regional project funded by EU under the IVB North Sea Region Programme, focusing on better integration of information in the region. One part of it consists of the creation of marine and coastal base reference information. Three other main activities looked into ENC harmonisation, maritime traffic harmonisation and climate change in the coastal zone.

    Litto3D® project (French national coastal mapping program)


    Yves Guillam presented the Litto3D® project which uses Lidar to make topographic and bathymetric measurements along the coast. The results of the project run by IGN and SHOM have many applications for coastal zone management and particularly for assessment of submersion risks. 3 DVDs with data under Open Licence covering Cassis-Hyères-Porquerolles in the South of France were delivered to the EC (DG Mare).

    Green Paper, consultation and further intentions


    Under this item, Iain Shepherd made a presentation (EMODnet, phase 3). Together with GMES, this is the main project which will be carried out in the frame of Marine Knowledge 2020 and this is the one for which HOs can provide the best support. The move towards high resolution starts with the Green Paper on Marine Knowledge which raises several issues regarding EMODnet. In his presentation, Iain Shepherd highlighted some of them.

    The consultation will end on 15th of December 2012. Implementation of Marine Knowledge 2020 will depend on the budget envelope for the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF). DG Mare will also launch a study (Marine Knowledge Impact Assessment) to evaluate options for the main issues which include governance and private sector involvement. DG Mare welcomes inputs on how the objectives could be reached.

    6% of EMFF might be devoted to supporting Integrated Maritime Policy, out of which half could be for Marine Knowledge. This option will be submitted by the Commission to the approval of the Council and to the Parliament. If it is approved, the amount for Marine Knowledge might reach €30M per year during 2014-2020 financial framework.

    Initial comments from HOs on the Green Paper

    EC IHO 10 Oct 2012- initial comments_v9.ppt

    There are some mutual expectations from EC and from HOs on the Marine Knowledge Green Paper. Initial comments from HOs on the Green Paper, and reactions from DG Mare on these comments helped in improving mutual knowledge and outlining the way ahead. In addition to France HO’s initial views (see slides), the 4 other HOs represented (Germany, Norway, Sweden and United Kingdom) and the IHB representative shared their first impressions.

    Yves-Henri Renhas presented the slides to be used as “food for thought”. 10 out of the 22 questions raised in the Green Paper were selected due to their relevance on HOs matters and responsibilities. Participants gave their initial views on the different questions, and it is intended to respond to the questionnaire at different level; national official level, each HO, the IHO NSHC EUM2WG, and possibly the IHO corporate view through the IHB.

    • Question 1 Are there any reasons why there should be exceptions, other than those related to  personal privacy, to the Commission’s policy of making marine data freely available and interoperable?

    Regarding the free availability of the data, HOs have different business models in Europe, but most of them are more or less requested by their governments to generate some revenues as it is part of their economic model. In most of them those revenues are a small but yet necessary part of their overall budgets.

    DG-MARE remarked that their studies indicate that few organisations generate significant revenue from raw data and that by opening the market they would allow other operators to generate new products.

    There is also some variety in data classification policies.

    • Question 2 How can Member States ensure that the data they hold are safely stored, available, and interoperable?

    HOs are responsible for the accuracy of the charts. In case of an accident they must be able to demonstrate that all the data have been processed in compliance with the standards. DG Mare acknowledges experience, expertise and reliability of HOs for marine knowledge data and is willing to recognize them as responsible for the bathymetric data.

    The research community Is not only interested in the current state of the ocean but also the past. MARE said that old surveys cannot be repeated and need to be kept safely.

    • Question 10 What should be the focus of EU support to new marine observation technologies? How can we extend ocean monitoring and its cost effectiveness? How can the EU strengthen its scientific and industrial position in this area?

    HOs are both experts and users in marine observation systems. However they don't have enough people and money to performing all research and innovation they need. They could make inputs in Horizon 2020 research and innovation framework to precise which research and innovation program they commonly need for their marine observation systems. Furthermore, if acquisition of one innovative observation system exceed the needs (and the budget) of one sole Member State, EC might support a common acquisition.

    MARE asked the HOs to be specific as to what technologies they thought could help – underwater vehicles for instance.

    • Question 13 What information on the behaviour of our seas and coasts can best help business and public authorities adapt to climate change?

    The question has been asked by DG MARE, but DG ENV and DG CLIMA are also interested. Member States need to adapt to climate change but scientists are unable to tell them on a local scale what will happen in the future. From some point of view, when decision should be taken, the issue is « what is the uncertainty (in sea-level rise) ». Reductions in uncertainty can save money. On the other hand, Member States which have expertise in evaluating risks of submersion could help others for which risks exist and which have less expertise (in a frame which DG Env might define).

    In addition to the type of data and modelling which are mentioned on the slide, one should also consider sedimentation/erosion/transport of sediment modelling.

    • Question 14 Are any additional measures required, over and above existing initiatives such as EMODnet and GMES, to enable Europe to support international initiatives on ocean  data such as GOOS and GEOSS?

    One should not forget GEBCO (EMODnet contributes to GEBCO and GEBCO contributes to EMODnet).

    • Question 15 What criteria should be used to determine EU financial support of observation programmes other than those that it already supports? Can you provide examples? Could the Joint Programming Initiative for European Seas and Oceans play a role?

    When considering inside EU trade shipping as well as overseas EU trade shipping, some sea basin area are of EU importance (not just national importance).

    The Commission invites HOs to provide specific examples of the particular geographical areas concerned.

    Costs/benefits balance of observation programmes should be made. One should emphasize that surveys must be made in compliance with IHO S-44 standards.

    • Question 16 How could the governance of EMODnet and GMES evolve to better accommodate the need for long term sustainability?

    We should establish a long-term link (both technical and administrative) between EC and IHO. Mathias Jonas emphasizes that processing the data is a complex operation when data are collected at different epochs and with different observation systems. HOs do have experience in these matters.

    The Commission indicated that the present procedure of three-year contracts awarded after calls for tender was relatively efficient but further savings in administration could be envisaged. However, the Commission must work within the rules of the Financial Regulation when awarding contracts. 

    • Question 18 Is a regular process needed to evaluate the effectiveness of the observation and sampling strategy for each sea-basin?

    There is an overall agreement on the comments. The Baltic Sea is a very good example of regional coordination.

    The Commission informed IHO that, starting next year, two pilot projects will begin looking at this question – one for the Mediterranean and one for the North Sea. The Commission agreed that the needs of shipping had been somewhat overlooked in the Green Paper on the assumption that the shipping industry was relatively happy with their nautical charts. However, the hydrographic offices said that this was not necessarily the case. There are still some are areas where better charts would improve the efficiency of the shipping industry. The Commission invited the HOs to give more details on this issue in their written submission.

    • Question 19 What mechanism could be envisaged to manage the evaluation and assessments needed to inform the Commission, Member States and Parliament on priorities for EU support?

    There is an overall agreement on the comments.

    Quick review of the IHO program of work (only tasks that are of interest for the EU).

    EC-IHO-meeting_IHO_presentation v2.pptx

    Gilles Bessero presented the structure and contents of the IHO Work Programme. He showed that EC concerns were addressed by existing elements of the Work Programme and indicated that RHCs should be considered as the IHO operational entrance points for responding to EC requirements.

    Identification of items of common interest, discussion.

    No formal review of items of common interest was made. However, some conclusions have been agreed.

    1. EC notes that shipping needs to be taken into account as a stakeholder in Marine Knowledge.

    2. Due to the characteristics of survey data, open access to raw data cannot be taken for granted.

    3. HOs will invite DG Mare to take part to the meetings of the Regional Hydrographic Commissions.

    4. DG Mare will invite the IHO to the technical meetings regarding Marine Knowledge.

    5. A roadmap should be drafted by HOs and DG Mare in order to improve mutual knowledge.

    This roadmap might include items from the conclusions of the 30th NSHC Conference and items which have emerged from the discussion on the Green Paper such as:

    • governance (slide 11 of « EMODnet phase 3 » and question 16),
    • coordination amongst HOs for business models and classification policies (question 1),
    • responsibility for bathymetric data (question 2),
    • inputs to Horizon 2020 (question 10),
    • dissemination of expertise in assessing risks of submersion (question 13),
    • examples of sea areas of EU importance (question 15),
    • managing marine knowledge for a sea basin (question 18),
    • managing a program of marine knowledge acquisition and reporting on the program (question 19).

    Draft roadmap and milestones.

    FR will prepare a draft roadmap by the end of the year 2012 to be discussed within the IHO and then submitted to DG Mare for its consideration. HOs will respond to the Green Paper's consultation (deadline 15th of December).

    The next meeting is foreseen in March 2013. Another one will be on the occasion of the World Hydrography Day (21 June 2013).


    presentations and agenda