The Environmental Pillar will address current gaps in know-how on how to measure and assess the cumulative environmental impacts of ocean multi-use, both at the local as well as at a broader ecosystem level.
This Pillar will also respond to a need for harmonized monitoring frameworks, as well as harmonized methods to assess both negative impacts and environmental gains of ocean multi-use in the marine space.
The careful combination of different maritime uses is expected to lead to a reduced environmental impact when compared to a situation where each maritime use is conducted independently. The environmental assessment framework should be able to capture the gains by applying not only a local perspective, but also a regional sea perspective.
The products of the Environmental Pillar:
A review of the current environmental assessment and status of pilots, as well as monitoring regimes, to ensure that available assessments include all external pressures, environmental risks, system changes and monitoring capacities.
An environmental assessment framework able to capture the added value of ocean multi-use: standard tools including Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) and Life Cycle Assessments (LCA) following an ecosystem services approach. By evaluating the impacts of ocean multi-use on marine ecosystem services, it will be possible to map the impacts on marine ecosystems at a larger regional scale, and also to evaluate interactions between impacts.
The application of the assessment framework in the five pilots. The results will be included in five briefs detailing the overarching environmental impacts and the benefits of the pilot multi-use and their associated activities.
Environmental impact assessment models for the commercial rollout of ocean multi-use. These models will build on lessons learnt and will highlight the transferability and upscaling potential of the UNITED pilots.
A Decision-Support System (DSS) targeting environmentally optimized ocean multi-use, which will include environmental variables such as commercial species, species in need of conservation, identification of suitable locations and eco-engineering practices, as well as assessments of positive and negative effects on the environment.