Coordination of Biodiversity Monitoring and Assessment

6 December 2023

OSPAR's group on Coordination of Biodiversity Monitoring and Assessment met in Peterborough (United Kingdom) from 28-30 November 2023. The meeting was convened by Richard Emmerson (Sweden) and Ian Mitchell (UK).

The group, better known as ICG-COBAM, contributed a significant proportion of the indicators, and the biodiversity thematic assessments, for the Quality Status Report 2023 through the work of its experts and sub-groups. COBAM 2023 participants reflected on the process of producing the biodiversity components of the QSR 2023, recording lessons learnt on what worked well and what could be improved for future assessments.

The group spent some time reviewing progress with some of the OSPAR North-East Atlantic Environment Strategy (NEAES) 2030 Implementation tasks, including the developing Regional Action Plans on marine birds and benthic shelf habitats, and spent some time mapping the links between COBAM’s work and the NEAES 2030 Tasks.

The group also discussed the COBAM expert groups’ ways of working and workplans and considered opportunities for further collaboration outside the biodiversity committee, for example relating to contaminants, eutrophication and the environmental impacts of human activities.

Noting that the scope of the next OSPAR integrated assessment planned for 2028 is yet to be defined, COBAM 2023 began mapping out which biodiversity indicators and other assessments could be updated, which common indicators could be expanded to additional regions, and which candidate indicators could be proposed for promotion before the next OSPAR assessment. The group also discussed the monitoring and datastreams required to support those assessments.

ICG-COBAM discussed how it might seek to take the lessons learnt from the QSR 2023 and seek to put the production of biodiversity indicator and thematic assessments on a more stable model for resourcing.