The main customers of the work of the IES are the Directorates General (DGs) of the European Commission. In particular, IES supports these institutions in the following fields:
DG Environment is the most important customer of the IES, being involved in more than 40 joint projects. This covers all activities of the IES, such as work on water quality, air pollution, soil protection, land management and forestry, biodiversity, desertification, ICT for the environment, life cycle assessments and indicator development for monitoring Europe’s progress to the efficient and sustainable use of strategic resources.
The IES works closely with DG Agriculture in the implementation of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), forecasting the production of crops, food security, impacts of climate change on agricultrual systems and in a number of agri-environmental issues, especially in the areas of indicator assessment and rural development.
DG Climate Action
The IES’ strengthened modelling capacity and collaboration with the JRC’s Institutes for Prospective Technologies (IPTS) and Energy (IE) provides support on the impact of climate change scenarios on agriculture, the natural environment and the economic sectors (i.e. transport, industry, tourism). The IES also supports the development of European Climate Change Policy in two issues hotly debated in the UNFCCC (Framework Convention for Climate Change): Reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation in developing countries (REDD) and land use and land use change and forestry (LULUCF).
Work with the European statistical authority Eurostat includes the setting up of the Infrastructure for Spatial Information in the European Community (INSPIRE), and the development of agri-environmental and life-cycled based indicators for monitoring the environmental impacts of consumption in Europe.
Being a research institute, the IES is obviously closely involved with DG Research, particularly in supporting initiatives such as the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) and the European Research Area by training young scientists, being a partner in a multitude of research initiatives financed by DG R&I and participating in networks of large research infrastructures (ESFRI) to help shape the research communities in Europe. The Institute is an official partner in the Integrated Carbon Observation System (ICOS) and will contribute with the high precision monitoring of atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases and measurements of ecosystem carbon fluxes.
The IES provides support with respect to the environmental assessment of EU-funded projects in developing countries (especially in Africa). The IES coordinates the ACP (Africa, Caribbean and Pacific) observatory which is designed to provide scientific and technical information, maps, tools and data in support to decision-making processes in these regions. The Copernicus (formerly GMES) Africa Action Plan, jointly coordinated by the IES and the African Union, involves training and capacity building so that Commission services and stakeholders in Africa can have improved access to Earth Observation data and scientific information needed for decision making.
DG Regional Policy is supported by the IES in the assessment of regional fund allocation providing spatial information related to key themes (e.g. demography, climate change, environment, urban development, natural hazards, etc. ) and performing ad-hoc analyses on specific issues (e.g. scenario modelling, impact assessment). Additionally, the IES provides ad-hoc response to national claims for solidarity funds at times of natural disasters (i.e. floods, fires, storm damage, etc.).
The IES provides support to DG Enterprise with respect to the formulation and implementation of directives related to space policy, in particular Copernicus - the European Earth Observation Programme (formerly GMES), Europe’s role in developing standards and the deepening concerns about the availability of strategic raw materials and the economic consequences of their dwindling supply.
Cooperation with DG Health and Consumers is mainly in the area of impact assessment of pesticides and dioxins.
The IES also has close relationships with other European bodies, especially the following:
After DG Environment, the EEA is the most important customer of the IES. Cooperation with the agency covers about 20 different projects in diverse fields such as spatial information and land cover, sustainability indicators, river catchment modelling, energy end-use efficiency, water and air quality, and greenhouse gas emission inventories.
The IES supports the European Space Agency in the development of instruments and algorithms to be placed on earth observation satellites, particularly within the framework of the Copernicus - the European Earth Observation Programme (formerly the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security - GMES) initiative.
The efforts of the IES in the harmonisation of databases and methodological approaches are reflected in the involvement of the Institute in a number of CEN working groups.
The IES also works with authorities and other institutions in the EU Member States on national, regional and local levels. Special emphasis is given to the enlargement process of the European Union by enhancing collaboration with partners in the new Member States and Candidate Countries.
Furthermore, the IES works with international bodies such as the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). High-level contacts are also maintained with third-country institutions such as the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the African Union Commission (AUC).
Finally, in its capacity as a major European research resource, the IES works in close collaboration with a vast number of research partners in the Member States of the European Union, creating a bridge between EU policies and the European citizen. The IES is a member of the most relevant networks in the environmental research field, including the PEER Network of European Environmental Research Centres.