Project Name: Copernicus assisted environmental monitoring across the Black Sea Basin – PONTOS
Project Acronym and Number: PONTOS, BSB-889
Project Start Date: 01.07.2020
Project End Date: 31.12.2022
Project Budget: EUR 999,967.28
Funding: ENI CBC “Black Sea Basin Joint Operational Programme 2014-2020”
- AUA Acopian Center for the Environment (Lead Partner), Armenia
- Centre for Research and Technology Hellas, Greece
- Democritus University of Thrace, Greece
- Environmental Protection and Mining Inspection Body of the Republic of Armenia
- Green Alternative, Georgia
- Odessa National I.I. Mechnikov University, Ukraine
PONTOS aims to enhance transboundary cooperation for large-scale, harmonized environmental monitoring across the countries of the Black Sea region and beyond. The vehicle towards this objective is the exploitation of numerous freely available and incrementally credible Copernicus data and services (e.g. Copernicus Land and Marine Environment Monitoring Services).
Intelligent fusion of data and information shall lead to novel services and products for actors operating along the coastal zone. Latter shall become, through PONTOS operational platform and mounted online services, freely available to and accessible by a multitude of local, national and regional stakeholders. Transboundary spaceborne derived primary (e.g. images) and secondary (e.g. maps) products will be coupled with existing data and knowledge of in situ conditions. Tailored to the regional challenges, solutions will be generated by utilizing this information thesaurus and retrieving methods and results (e.g. online modules and models) from EU and national past and ongoing research and development projects. Citizens’ current and future well-being will be the focus. As such, marine and lake coastal and inland human activities will be mapped targeting industry, recreation, agriculture, aquaculture, and commerce in Armenia, Georgia, Ukraine, and pilot-wise in Greece. Their effluents towards the Black Sea or the lakes around it will be calculated, while at the same time spaceborne and in situ data will monitor fluctuations in marine features’ values, such as surface water temperature, salinity, nutrients, potentially toxic elements, and algae presence.
The impact will be assessed in relation to set benchmark conditions. Local stakeholders and actors will be informed and equipped with an adequate interface to access the information and its regular updates. Co-development and co-creation actions will respect national and local needs, constraints and vision. Together with capacity building activities PONTOS aims to offer the means to exploit in tandem existing local monitoring networks and Copernicus products and services, to align its online services with a compatible manner to existing hard- and software infrastructures, and to leverage cooperation and exchange of ideas and best practices across the region.
PONTOS’s overall objective is to make information and knowledge available to scientists, policymakers, citizens, and other relevant stakeholders and provide a full picture of the state and temporal evolution of Black Sea region environment. This is expected to be achieved by exploiting information technologies to
automatically retrieve Copernicus products, couple them with national or regional infrastructures for data acquisition and processing, and provide monitoring services for the Black Sea and the surrounding environment in a transboundary, standardized and homogenized manner. Convergent conservation strategies will be promoted at sites of regional significance as pilots to showcase the efficacy and credibility of the online services.
- Technology transfer among the Black Sea Nations.
- Exploitation of the Copernicus program in tandem with locally established infrastructure and networks for environmental monitoring.
- Engagement of local and regional actors at multiple levels as co-designers and receptors of the benefits accrued by PONTOS.
- Integration of online services’ tools based on Information Technology applications that leverage remotely sensed and Copernicus environmental data in tandem with in situ retrieved ones in an integrated and synergistic way to account for an efficient environmental monitoring for the Black Sea and its surrounding environment.
- Improved availability and timeliness of cross-border compatible environmental monitoring data and information for the BSB.
- Capacity building and homogenization across the Black Sea to comprehend and utilize provided online services through tailor-made training material and actions targeting on one side the young generation of actors and on the other side the established employees of the public and private sectors.
- Establishment of a transnational and transdisciplinary cooperation team to act as the core of flexible local clusters involving stakeholder groups promoting data sharing via PONTOS proposed methodology and tools.
- Raise awareness of the importance of water quality degradation for local and national sustainable development.
- PONTOS operational platform and tools.
- Assessments of environmental issues in pilot areas using EO data and services
- Compendium on training material used for the capacity building activities.
- Formation of local clusters on water management and pollution prevention in all participating countries.
- Kick-off Meeting, July 20 – July 22, 2020