A successful collaboration between European hydrographic services and the European Union

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A successful collaboration between European hydrographic services and the European Union

Mis à jour le 02/05/2023

On May 23rd, on the occasion of the European Maritime Days, Shom will receive more than 10 counterparts representing their countries at its headquarters as well as DG Mare - Directorate General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries of the European Commission - for a working session within the framework of the IENWG. On the agenda is the strengthening of the Union's hydro-oceanographic capacities in support of European maritime policies. A great opportunity to look back at the actions and achievements of this unique working group within the IHO.


What is the IENWG?

To understand it, we need to go back to the way the IHO - the international hydrographic organisation - works. The latter notably functions in inter-state working groups, called "regional hydrographic commissions", mainly based on maritime basins. About ten years ago the IHO identified the need to get closer to the European Union, which led to the creation of the IENWG (IHO-EU Network Working Group).

The idea behind it was to set up a working group bringing together the hydrographic services of the EU Member States and the Commission directorates interested in maritime issues, in order to exchange and enrich European public policies.

To this end, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed on 23 April 2012, whereby the European Commission (EC) and the IHO agreed to set up a framework for regular liaison between the two parties in specific areas of common interest. DG MARE is in charge of implementing this agreement.


What are the topics and issues discussed in this working group?

The topics are manifold and cover :

  •     maritime surveillance activities
  •     offshore renewable energy
  •     maritime spatial planning
  •     integrated coastal zone management
  •     hydrographic observations and data acquisition
  •     data networks
  •     implementation of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD)
  •     marine research and innovation
  •     marine data standards and guidelines
  •     cooperation with third countries.

What role does Shom play in IENWG?

"Shom has had and still has a driving role in this adventure - both in its genesis and in the animation of this group " says enthusiastically Corine Lochet - head of Shom's Europe division, " since the creation of this group, Shom has been elected by its peers as coordinator and executive secretary of the IENWG. Also, in the context of the European Maritime Days 2023 in Brest, we felt it was important to highlight this hydrographic partnership!"


Come and discuss directly with us about it at the European Maritime Days in Brest on 24 and 25 May 2023.

Learn more on the IENWG here