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Institute for Environment and Sustainability

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The Institute for Environment and Susatainability (IES), located in Ispra, Italy, is a part of the The European Commission Joint Research Centre (JRC), and provides research and support for the development and implementation of European environmental policies. The mission of the JRC is to provide customer-driven scientific and technical support for the conception, development, implementation and monitoring of EU policies. [1]

The institute is founded on four priorities that guide it's research and developments:

  • Environment and Prosperity: The belief that environmental concerns are do not hinder European competitivenss, but are a key for achieving Europe’s aim of becoming the most competitive knowledge-based society in the world.
  • Environment and Solidarity: Supporting the common goal of providing equal access to a healthy environment to all citizens of Europe, while at the same time perceiving solidarity as intergenerational justice which will allow future generations to choose their own priorities for development.
  • Environment and Security: The institute is committed contributing to a reduction of all environmental risks, whether they be related to natural hazards or the result of human activities.
  • The Global Perspective: Helping Europe to take up responsibility for the environmental well-being of the entire planet.

The Institute is made up of six different scientific units under which there are a total of 23 sub-units called actions, each of which is dedicated to a specific area in environmental consciousness and sustainable solutions. [2]

The Climate Change Unit provides scientific support for development and monitoring of European policies in the area of regional and global air pollution and climate change, including for example the Kyoto protocol.

  • Global Air Pollution and Climate Change (Action 24001)
  • Greenhouse Gases in Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Uses (Action 24002)
  • Integrated Climate Policy Assessment: Emissions and Environmental Impacts (Action 24003)


The Global Environment Monitoring Unit provides accurate information on the interactions between the terrestrial, marine and climate components of the Earth system as required for EU policy in the areas of environment, development and external affairs.

  • Protection and Conservation of European Seas (Action 21203)
  • Systematic Observations of Lands and Oceans (Action 24004)
  • Monitoring Natural Resources for Development and Co-operation (Action 42001)
  • Global Forest Resources Monitoring (Action 42003)


The Transport and Air Quality Unit supports the emission reduction and air quality policy of the European Commission, focusing its activities in the areas of emissions from mobile and stationary sources, air quality, exposure to pollutants and health related studies, and radioactivity monitoring.

  • Sustainable Transport (Action 13201)
  • Transport technologies and Emissions (Action 13202)
  • Air Pollution and Effects (Action 13203)
  • Air Quality and Transport Modelling (Action 13206)
  • Radioactivity Environmental Monitoring (Action 51601)


The Rural, Water and Ecosystem Resources Unit carries out integrated ecosystem research in support of EU policies related to the terrestrial and aquatic environment, with particular emphasis on rural development. Among the major policies addressed are the Common *Agricultural Policy (CAP) and the Water Framework Directive (WFD).

  • Integration of Environment Concerns into Agriculture (Action 21107)
  • Aquatic and Terrestrial Ecosystems Assessment and Monitoring (Action 22001)
  • European Ecological Water Quality and Intercalibration (Action 22002)
  • Environmental Assessment of European Wastes and Sustainable Management of Resources (Action 22005)


The Spatial Data Infrastructures Unit coordinates the scientific and technical development and implementation of the Infrastructure for Spatial Information in Europe (INSPIRE).

  • Community Spatial Information Infrastructure (Action 11601)
  • Infrastructure for Spatial Information in Europe (Action 11602)


The Land Management and Natural Hazards Unit provides scientific and technical support for the conception, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of EU policies relating to natural hazards and to the spatial characterization of European territory.

  • Forest Data and Information Systems (Action 22003)
  • Soil Data and Information Systems (Action 22004)
  • Desertification, Land Degradation and Drought - Monitoring, Mitigation and Early Warning (Action 22008)
  • Floods: Prediction, Mitigation, Impact Assessment (Action 32001)


All units are supported by the Task Force Environment and Health which is responsible for assessing how environmental risk factors impact the lives of European citizens. Action 23001 - Health Impact Assessment of Environmental Risk Factors (ENVIHEALTH). The goal of the Task Force is to develop methodologies to combine environmental quality and health information, develop the 'Environmental Burden of Desease' concept to quantify environment and health interactions and use it as a communication tool, follow issues of human health impacts of climate change and analyze the health and environmental impacts of new and emerging technologies. [3]


  1. European Commission, Joint Research Centre 2008.
  2. European Commission, Joint Research Centre 2008.
  3. European Commission, Joint Research Centre 2008.
This page was part of a project for JMC330 International Mass Communication, which finished on May 15, 2010. It is now open edit.