Europe, US Signs Major Environmental Monitoring Agreement
Leaders from the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have signed a landmark agreement that will further strengthen cooperative science activities in the areas of climate, weather, oceans and coasts.

Leaders from the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have signed a landmark agreement that will further strengthen cooperative science activities in the areas of climate, weather, oceans and coasts. The signing ceremony also marked the launch of the first four environmental monitoring projects under the agreement.

Meeting in Brussels, Belgium, Jane Lubchenco, undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator, and Dominique Ristori, director general of the JRC, signed the agreement, which calls for exchanges of personnel, shared use of scientific infrastructure, support for joint research, access to laboratory facilities, scientific training and timely exchange of information.

"Today's global challenges must be met by increased international cooperation that addresses climate, weather, oceans and coasts - issues that impact everyone around the world," Lubchenco stated. "I'm delighted NOAA and Europe's Joint Research Centre are taking this important step to increase our cooperation on science."

According to the NOAA, the signing was part of a trip to Brussels by Lubchenco to speak before the European Parliament Fisheries Committee on the importance of international cooperation on sustainable fisheries management to support jobs, healthy industries, seafood and healthy marine ecosystems. Lubchenco was invited by EU Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Maria Damanaki to highlight U.S. fisheries rebuilding, as Europe is proposing major reforms to its fisheries management.

"We are pleased to announce that we have already identified four specific projects for collaboration between NOAA and the Research Centre," stated Ristori. "These projects collaborate on climate data records, tsunami modelling, space weather and fisheries research. This underscores the rich potential for sharing science and innovation."

The signed agreement stems from previous meetings between US and EU leaders, including a meeting in January between Lubchenco and EU Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science Máire Geoghegan-Quinn. High-level representatives from both administrations were at the signing, including William E Kennard, US ambassador to the European Union.

The JRC is the in-house science service of the European Commission and its mission is to provide EU policies with independent, evidence-based scientific and technical support throughout the whole policy cycle.