Working towards our next assessment of the North-East Atlantic

17 September 2020

Preparations for OSPAR’s Quality Status Report (QSR) 2023 continued 9-10 September 2020. Although the meeting was held online, spirits were high amongst the marine scientists and policy makers from around the North-East Atlantic who participated, and great progress was made.

Convenor, Dónal Cronin of Ireland, gave an update on the strides that had been made over the summer months and highlighted the challenges of working in unusual circumstances due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

Although several OSPAR countries and assessment leads raised concerns about resource gaps, significant progress was still being made in preparing content for the QSR. OSPAR’s Environmental Impacts of Human Activities Committee highlighted progress in their thematic assessment, in particular feeder reports which were being produced, and a noise thematic assessment. The Radioactive Substances Committee reported that work had begun on the 5th Periodic Evaluation which would form the basis of the Radioactive Substances Thematic Assessment, the Offshore Industry Committee gave an update on the timeline for the preparation of their thematic assessment; and the Hazardous Substances and Eutrophication Committee noted work on three thematic assessments: Eutrophication; Hazardous Substances; and Atmospheric and Riverine Inputs.

Work is also progressing in OSPAR’s Technical Group (TG) on the Measures and Actions Programme (MAP) as it informed the meeting that it is considering a comprehensive method for assessing implementation of measures and their effectiveness.

Further efforts were also made during the meeting to update the QSR 2023 Guidance Document (OSPAR Agreement 2019-02).

Finally, the meeting discussed hiring a Project Coordinator who will be responsible for supporting the work of OSPAR’s Intersessional Correspondence Group on managing delivery of the QSR 2023 and will play an essential role in helping draw the many strands of work together. If you are interested in this role, please visit our vacancies page.

OSPAR undertakes a full assessment of the state of the North-East Atlantic every 10 years. The last full Quality Status Report was in 2010. Although not all OSPAR Contracting Parties are EU member states, a decision was taken to move the assessments in line with reporting under the EU’s Marine Strategy Framework Directive, meaning that the next full assessment will take place in 2023. This is OSPAR’s Quality Status Report 2023. To bridge the gap between 2010 and 2023, OSPAR undertook an Intermediate Assessment in 2017. All OSPAR assessments are available on our Assessment Portal.