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What is SEIS?

What is SEIS?

Shared environmental information system (SEIS)

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Reliable, accessible and timely data on the environment is a key factor in formulating good policies. A vast range of environmental data is being collected across Europe, generating valuable information for policy makers, citizens and business. To maximise the use of this information, the shared environmental information system (SEIS) aims to interconnect existing databases and make data easily accessible to all.

What is SEIS?

Policy-makers depend on reliable and increasingly on real-time information to determine the most appropriate course of action. At the moment, European countries collect environmental data and report them to international organisations such as the European Environment Agency (EEA), the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Data are delivered at intervals set by relevant legislation and commitments.

SEIS is a collaborative initiative of the European Commission, the EEA and the member countries of the Agency. It aims to

  • improve the availability and quality of information needed to design and implement the European Union’s environment policy,
  • streamline data handling by connecting existing information systems and providing online information services,  
  • modernise environmental reporting to reduce the administrative burden both at national and international level, and
  • foster the development of information services and web-based applications.


Many countries have already started connecting their local and national databases and are publishing their data online. A good example is the German environmental portal PortalU. A number of European initiatives are also contributing to the creation of SEIS. Examples are

Such national and international initiatives will be important building blocks for SEIS.

Road map for implementation

The European Commission’s Communication Towards a Shared Environmental Information System (February 2008) outlines the SEIS approach. Later in the year, the Commission will present a detailed implementation plan. This will be developed in collaboration with the EEA and the European environmental information and observation network (Eionet). The Commission also intends to update the Standardised Reporting directive   to bring it in line with the SEIS principles.

The EEA is putting SEIS implementation at the centre of its upcoming 2009 – 2013 strategy. 


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