IMAP Info System

In the framework of the Programme of Work and Budget for 2018–2019 of UN Environment/MAP (Decision IG.23/14), INFO/RAC has developed the “IMAP (Pilot) Info System" platform to facilitate access to knowledge for managers and decision-makers, as well as stakeholders and the general public” (output 1.5.1).

The development of a Pilot IMAP Compatible Data and Information System (IMAP (Pilot) Info System),supported by the EU funded EcAp-MED II Project, enables the Contracting Parties to start reporting data for selected 11 IMAP Common Indicators and laying down the basis for building a fully operational IMAP Info System as requested by the Integrated Monitoring and Assessment Programme (IMAP), adopted by COP 19 (Decision IG.22/7).

The criteria used for selecting the 11 Common Indicators as part of the IMAP (Pilot) Info System are:

  1. maturity of Common Indicators as of 2017, in terms of monitoring experiences and best practices;
  2. existing data collection and availability representing all IMAP Clusters;
  3. availability of Common Indicators Guidance Factsheets and/or metadata templates.

The IMAP (Pilot) Info System has been developed by INFO/RAC in close consultations with UN Environment/MAP Components. The IMAP (Pilot) Info System is able to receive and process data according to the proposed Data Standards (DSs) and Data Dictionaries (DDs) that set the basic information on data reporting within IMAP.

IMAP Pilot Info System is on-line

The IMAP Pilot Info System is ready, fully operational and able to collect data from 1st July 2019. 

IMAP Pilot Info System website is accessible to the general public. Login for Contracting Parties (CPs) and MAP users is needed to access the reserved sections.

The system has been tested with the support of the Italian Focal Points for the 3 clusters of Common Indicators. Full support has been given to all the users interested to test its functionalities and upload available data sets.

An IMAP Pilot Info System User Guide has been developed to provide general assistance to users and a dedicated e-mail has been set up ( to support CPs during the data upload.

Technical guides for each Common Indicator are under development.

Table 1. List of IMAP Ecological Objectives (EOs) and Indicators. In bold the 11 IMAP Common Indicators developed in the system.

Ecological Objective

IMAP Indicators

EO 1 Biodiversity

Biological diversity is maintained or enhanced. The quality and occurrence of coastal and marine habitats and the distribution and abundance of coastal and marine species are in line with prevailing physiographic, hydrographic, geographic and climatic conditions.

Common Indicator 1: Habitat distributional range (EO1) to also consider habitat extent as a relevant attribute

Common Indicator 2: Condition of the habitat’s typical species and communities (EO1)

Common Indicator 3: Species distributional range (EO1 related to marine mammals, seabirds, marine reptiles)

Common Indicator 4: Population abundance of selected species (EO1, related to marine mammals, seabirds, marine reptiles)

Common indicator 5: Population demographic characteristics (EO1, e.g. body size or age class structure, sex ratio, fecundity rates, survival/mortality rates related to marine mammals, seabirds, marine reptiles)

EO 2 Non-indigenous species

Non-indigenous species introduced by human activities are at levels that do not adversely alter the ecosystem

Common Indicator 6: Trends in abundance, temporal occurrence, and spatial distribution of non-indigenous species, particularly invasive, non-indigenous species, notably in risk areas (EO2, in relation to the main vectors and pathways of spreading of such species)

EO 3 Harvest of commercially exploited fish and shellfish

Populations of selected commercially exploited fish and shellfish are within biologically safe limits, exhibiting a population age and size distribution that is indicative of a healthy stock

Common Indicator 7: Spawning stock Biomass (EO3);

Common Indicator 8: Total landings (EO3);

Common Indicator 9: Fishing Mortality (EO3);

Common Indicator 10: Fishing effort (EO3);

Common Indicator 11: Catch per unit of effort (CPUE) or Landing per unit of effort (LPUE) as a proxy (EO3)

Common Indicator 12: Bycatch of vulnerable and non-target species (EO1 and EO3)

EO 4 Marine food webs

Alterations to components of marine food webs caused by resource extraction or human-induced environmental changes do not have long-term adverse effects on food web dynamics and related viability

To be further developed

EO 5 Eutrophication

Human-induced eutrophication is prevented, especially adverse effects thereof, such as losses in biodiversity, ecosystem degradation, harmful algal blooms and oxygen deficiency in bottom waters.

Common Indicator 13: Concentration of key nutrients in water column (EO5);

Common Indicator 14: Chlorophyll-a concentration in water column (EO5)

EO 6 Sea-floor integrity

Sea-floor integrity is maintained, especially in priority benthic habitats

To be further developed

EO7 Hydrography

Alteration of hydrographic conditions does not adversely affect coastal and marine ecosystems.

Common Indicator 15: Location and extent of the habitats impacted directly by hydrographic alterations (EO7) to also feed the assessment of EO1 on habitat extent

EO 8 Coastal ecosystems and landscapes

The natural dynamics of coastal areas are maintained and coastal ecosystems and landscapes are preserved

Common Indicator 16: Length of coastline subject to physical disturbance due to the influence of man-made structures (EO8);

Candidate Indicator 25: Land use change (EO8)

EO 9 Pollution

Contaminants cause no significant impact on coastal and marine ecosystems and human health

Common Indicator 17: Concentration of key harmful contaminants measured in the relevant matrix (EO9, related to biota, sediment, seawater)

Common Indicator 18:  Level of pollution effects of key contaminants where a cause and effect relationship has been established (EO9)

Common Indicator 19: Occurrence, origin (where possible), extent of acute pollution events (e.g. slicks from oil, oil products and hazardous substances), and their impact on biota affected by this pollution (EO9);

Common Indicator 20: Actual levels of contaminants that have been detected and number of contaminants which have exceeded maximum regulatory levels in commonly consumed seafood (EO9);

Common Indicator 21: Percentage of intestinal enterococci concentration measurements within established standards (EO9)

EO 10   Marine litter

Marine and coastal litter do not adversely affect coastal and marine environment

Common Indicator 22: Trends in the amount of litter washed ashore and/or deposited on coastlines (EO10);

Common Indicator 23:  Trends in the amount of litter in the water column including microplastics and on the seafloor (EO10);

Candidate Indicator 24: Trends in the amount of litter ingested by or entangling marine organisms focusing on selected mammals, marine birds, and marine turtles (EO10)

EO 11   Energy including underwater noise

Noise from human activities cause no significant impact on marine and coastal ecosystems

Candidate Indicator 26: Proportion of days and geographical distribution where loud, low, and mid-frequency impulsive sounds exceed levels that are likely to entail significant impact on marine animal

Candidate Indicator 27: Levels of continuous low frequency sounds with the use of models as appropriate

Data Standards (DSs) & Data Dictionaries (DDs)

Data Standards (DSs) are Excel spreadsheets in which every column is representing a field to be filled in by the data providers. The data uploaded using the data standards will be suitable for the inclusion in the database.

Data Dictionaries (DDs) are excel spreadsheets in which each field is explained to guide the data provider in the filling in of the data standards.

DSs and DDs are spreadsheets included in the same Excel file, downloadable from the Pilot info system. For each Common Indicator can be provided one or more data standard and data dictionary, according to the number of modules available.

In DSs the mandatory data are represented in black and the NON mandatory ones in red. The possibility to fill in also NON mandatory fields is given to allow Countries that already have monitoring systems collecting a wider kind of data to report also the additional ones.

The first drafts of Data Standards and Data Dictionaries for the selected IMAP Common Indicators were reviewed on the basis of the feedback of Contracting Parties during the presentation of the draft system in the 20th Ordinary Meeting of the Contracting Parties and the additional comments by the Regional Meeting on IMAP Implementation: Best Practices, Gaps and Common Challenges (IMAP Best Practices Meeting), Rome, Italy, 10-12 July 2018. Later, Data Standards and Data Dictionaries were further updated on close consultations with UN Environment/MAP components during bilateral consultation in the second semester of 2018.

While the system is operational, it can be only fully effective, only once a full and wide consensus on data standards and data dictionaries has been agreed by Contracting Parties. The general agreement has been  achieved during the Ecosystem approach Correspondence Group on Monitoring (CorMon) Meetings of the first semester of 2019 .

Afterwords  additional work has been needed to align the changes of standards with the system. DSs and DDs have been uploaded in the Pilot and the consequent changes to the data base structure have been provided. The correspondent data flow have been activated.

INFO/RAC has developed draft Data Standards and Data Dictionaries for each of the 11 selected common indicators, covering all three clusters of IMAP (Biodiversity and non indigenous species (NIS), Pollution and Marine Litter, Coast and Hydrography).

The 11 of the 27 IMAP Common Indicators are: 1, 2, 6, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 21, 22, 23.

The final proposals of Data Standards and Data Dictionaries related to the “11 selected IMAP Common Indicators” has been discussed and updated with the respective UN Environment/MAP Components: with MEDPOL for Pollution and Marine Litter, with SPA/RAC for Biodiversity and NIS as well as with PAP/RAC for Hydrography and Coast.

Next steps

After the conclusion of the EcAp MED II Project, further modules will be discussed and agreed with the thematic MAP Components for each already selected Common Indicator and for the remaining ones in view of the completion of the IMAP 27 Common Indicator set, according to the available resources specifically allocated.

Apart from the 16 remaining Common Indicators, the selected 11 will also go through a process of enlargement and development. INFO/RAC is currently proposing a series of modules for each Common Indicator covering the main monitoring issues. They will be integrated with new modules that are in discussion or in development.

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published on 2019/04/12 10:33:00 GMT+0 last modified 2022-07-22T12:24:54+00:00