With the Fitness check the commission strives to better environment, stronger democracy, closer to the citizens, more Investments, sustainable growth and jobs, effective Digital, Single Market and Better Regulation. The outcome of the fitness check shows evidently that there is a role for the commission to improve availability, access and use for all data to inform on the current state of the environment for EU bodies and more in general for all EU citizens.
The environmental domain is a diverse, complex and dynamic environment. To ensure a result that will fit in this environment we suggest an approach in which two elements play a key role. Firstly, the end-user plays an important role, because the result of the project should match his/her needs and this is dealt with by the user centred approach. This is facilitated by a number of internal and external workshops. Secondly, to be able to respond properly to and in this dynamic environment we propose incremental iterative work cadences and empirical feedback. These two elements are combined in the approach we propose visualised in figure 1 and with this approach we ensure a holistic view and at the same time be flexible and responsive
The project is executed in three tasks:
Task 1: Exploring, identifying best practices and developing guidance
Create, building on the findings of the study on environmental reporting a draft guidance document in particular addressing the promotion of good practices for national environmental portals and national environmental reports. The task should as close as possible be linked to and build on the findings on harvesting, e-Reporting and active dissemination (in the sense of the obligations set out in the Access to Environmental Information Directive-2003/4/EC) in the framework of the Fitness Check exercise.
Task 2: Explore the use of re-usable tools for data harvesting
Under this task, we will be required to explore the possible ways in which high quality environmental information publically available at national level (e.g. through the above-identified information systems) can be used for the purpose of EU policy making in the field of the environment. This will include tools and approaches for harvesting and mining of textual, numeric and geospatial data. It also looks into the best ways on how to link information from the EU level to the national level including the approaches promoted by the INSPIRE Directive or the SIIF pilot project. Amongst the most important use cases are e-Reporting and the EU-level publication of environmental information. These use cases should be analysed and explored in most detail. The priority list of datasets for e-Reporting that is developed and maintained by the INSPIRE Maintenance and Implementation expert Group (MIG) is a guidance for the minimum availability of spatial data related to the environmental acquis.
Task 3: Testing and developing examples for EU end-user tools based on EU user needs and providing practical support
As regards practical support and end-user application, the establishment of services and IT solutions for EU level users’ needs to be investigated and tested. This task contributes to the development of a Commission (DG ENV, JRC and EEA) toolbox or the improvement of (existing) toolbox elements, or linking national (or international) systems to existing EU information systems whereby reporting and other environmental information available at national or EU level in a state-of-the-art national information systems is easily accessible and re-usable. Hence, the feasibility of the approach and the level of ambition will need to be described as a first step building on the users’ needs. The Commission and EEA IT architecture and available tools are taken into account when developing this area e.g. the EU geoportal.This task will also explore possibilities, inter alia, to make further improvement of the EU Geoportal and its link to the Reportnet project. It explores and proposes recommendations on how data harvesting can be used more effectively in environment policy in the future addressing the questions identified in the Fitness Check evaluation (e.g. on legal certainty) (see more details in Appendix 4 and 5).
For tasks 1 & 3 an inventory is carried out by means of a desk study. If needed, additional survey will be carried out within stakeholders to fill in the gaps. The results are explored to assess relevance and usefulness as a first filter for further analyses.
In the next phase an analysis takes place based on relevance and representativeness of what is collected in the inventory, so to identify requirements. In this phase an as-is gap analysis is conducted referring to the user-stories defined as a starting point at the beginning of the process.
Next, the specifications are drafted based on the requirements. They will be verified by the stakeholders in the process. This cyclic process is depicted in Figure 1, by returning to the previous step is results are not satisfying.
In the end, and depending on the specifications of the task, a deliverable is produced to either conclude, or recommend road map for further planning. Figure 2 comprehensively represents the entire project, with the main tasks related to the deliverables (purple arrow downwards). The sub-tasks can be recursive when additional information is needed in an iterative process.