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INSEAN and JPI Oceans

 

The Joint Programming Initiative Healthy and Productive Seas and Oceans (JPI Oceans) is a coordinating and integrating platform, open to all EU Member States and Associated Countries. INSEAN is member of the Management Board. JPI Oceans provides a long-term approach to marine and maritime research and technology development in Europe. It has endorsed its Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda in 2015 and can adopt many different typologies of joint actions, with a variable geometry approach, to tackle the challenges associated to Seas and Oceans.

INSEAN is also leading a JPI Oceans Action on the problem of the ammunitions dumped in the sea (http://www.jpi-oceans.eu/munitions-sea). Large quantities of conventional and chemical weapons have been dumped in European seas throughout the 20th century, particularly in the aftermath of the first and second world wars as well as of the recent conflicts in the Balkan area. The problem of dumped munitions is understood within the European region, but they are not currently seen as a high priority for scientific research. Being a sensitive subject, it is sometimes difficult to coordinate activities internationally and across scientific disciplines.

Munitions in the sea pose a number of risks to human safety and wellbeing, environmental integrity and economic activity. Research into the effects of conventional and chemical weapons has shown the negative impacts on marine life, which in turn has implications for human health. Over time, the degradation of shell casings and containers leads to instability in dumped munitions. Coupled with the intensification of the use of marine space for economic and social activities inevitably increases the likelihood of harm. A coordinated transnational response could increase the efficiency and effectiveness of interventions by sharing experience and skills across Europe.

The Joint Programming Initiative Healthy and Productive Seas and Oceans (JPI Oceans) is a high-level coordinating and integrating strategic platform, open to all EU Member States and Associated Countries, which was officially launched by the Council of the European Union in December 2011. It covers all European sea basins with 21 participating countries and the European Commission as an observer (www.jpi-oceans.eu).

Although being a relevant problem within the EU region, the issue of dumped munitions at sea is currently under-rated. In November 2015, JPI Oceans launched the joint action named "Munitions in the Sea", which is being coordinated by Italy and, at the moment, involves BE, DE, ES, GR, IE, NL, NO, PL, PT, SE, UK. By mainly addressing the aspects of research and innovation, it will provide knowledge based support to operators and policy makers.

The aim of the action is to assess risks and describe case studies, define priorities and suggest intervention options. These outcomes will be used to support decision making related to identification, monitoring and elimination of threats through a more systematic approach.