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Environmental and social cross-compliance of marine policies

Proposals should focus on implementation research on environmental and social cross-compliance of a broad range of marine and maritime policies to detect inconsistencies between different policies, legislation and regulations as barriers for the Green Deal and its strategies (EU biodiversity strategy for 2030, Climate Adaptation Strategy, the zero pollution ambition) in the marine domain.

Actions should address one or more of the following options:

1. Environmental and social cross-compliance and coherence of marine policies for nature-based climate adaptation and mitigation

A sufficient scientific knowledge base is needed to be able to judge and avoid potential exemptions of Water Framework Directive and Marine Strategy Framework Directive requirements or conflicts with NATURA 2000 legislation for new coastal infrastructure licences for climate adaptation and mitigation actions. The implementation of Article 4(7) of the WFD on how to deal with new physical modifications to (including coastal) water bodies currently differs considerably from one Member State to another[[ WFD fitness check EC Staff Working Document SWD(2019) 439 final]].

Proposals should analyse European, national or regional marine/maritime policies, legislation and regulation, in particular related to the Water Framework Directive, Marine Strategy Framework Directive and Nature Directives versus marine sectorial and marine spatial planning legislation, regulation and implementation focusing on climate adaptation and mitigation. Proposals should review the knowledge on the effects of different climate adaptation and mitigation measures on good ecological, environmental or conservation status, also taking into account the benefits of traditional and indigenous knowledge and experience on climate adaptation and mitigation ecosystem services for integration in policy implementation.

Proposals should identify weaknesses in cross-compliance and coherence of marine/maritime policies, legislation and regulation to favour nature-based climate adaptation and mitigation measures. They should make proposals for improvement and define research and innovation needs to cover gaps in knowledge to assess effects of different climate adaptation and mitigation measures on good ecological, environmental or conservation status to support environmentally friendly decision making.

2. Environmental and social cross-compliance and coherence of marine policies to halt biodiversity decline and enhance restoration and conservation for the benefit of local communities

Proposals should analyse international, European, national or regional marine/maritime policies, legislation and regulation (Convention on Biological Diversity, Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction, Environmental Impact Assessment etc.) versus marine sectorial (such as International Seabed Authority, international fisheries regulation, fossil fuel exploration/exploitation, marine wildlife trade, agriculture, waste, etc.) and marine spatial planning legislation, regulation and implementation focusing on biodiversity and ecosystem conservation and restoration, including Marine Protected Area assignments.

Proposals should identify weaknesses in cross-compliance and coherence of marine/maritime policies, legislation and regulation to halt biodiversity decline and enhance restoration and conservation for the benefit of local communities. They should make proposals for improvement to support environmentally friendly decision making at all governance levels, also taking into account the benefits of traditional and indigenous knowledge and experience on biodiversity and ecosystem services for integration in policy implementation.

3. Environmental and social cross-compliance and coherence of marine policies to achieve progress towards zero pollution

Proposals should focus on implementation research on environmental and social cross-compliance and coherence of a broad range of marine and maritime policies to detect inconsistencies between different policies, legislation and regulations in order to achieve progress in the elimination of historical and future pollution. Proposals should analyse international, European, national or regional marine/maritime policies, legislation and regulation, versus marine sectorial legislation, regulation and implementation focusing on all kinds of pollution. They should make proposals for improvement to eliminate inconsistencies at all relevant governance levels and define potential scientific needs to achieve them.

The size of requested EU contribution should be commensurate to the breadth of the project scope.

The proposals should cover a representative set of coastal areas or regions across Europe varying according to size and geographical, environmental, socio-economic, institutional and administrative conditions (regional, inter-regional, macro-region, cross-border).

Interactive research approaches should be used to engage with local, regional, national and – where relevant - international authorities, as well as local communities, citizens and other relevant stakeholders, considering gender, age and socio-economic background, where relevant.

Projects should build on existing knowledge and integrate results from multiple origins, including other EU, international (for example UN) or national projects or studies. Some cooperation activities with projects financed under topics from Destinations “Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services” and “Clean environment and zero pollution” and Green Deal calls (like LC-GD-7-1-2020 Restoration of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services) could be included. This topic should also be linked to the Horizon Europe Missions Ocean, seas and waters and Adaptation to Climate Change including Societal Transformation, the Partnership for a climate neutral, sustainable and productive Blue Economy, the Biodiversity Partnership, the Partnership Water security for the planet (Water4All) or other partnerships where relevant.