The Jomopans approach to ambient noise monitoring showed that transnational co-operation is essential to gain insight in the soundscape. A combination of numerical modelling and field measurements quantified the ambient sound in the North Sea. This work is part of the  global efforts to assess and manage underwater noise. The North Sea was chosen by OSPAR as a pilot region to start joint monitoring of ambient noise. The JOMOPANS project has established the OSPAR joint monitoring programme for this region, based on an Implementation Plan. A set of key lessons emerged from the development of the Implementation Plan, which can be used by other OSPAR Regions and beyond to operationalise joint monitoring.

Choose the right ambition level
Joint monitoring can involve different ambition levels in terms of integration. JOMOPANS has used a model that sets out four ambition levels: networking, cooperation, coordination and collaboration. In this model, the amounts of common tasks, commitment and resources that institutions must invest into the joint effort increase with each ambition level. The proposed ambition level for the OSPAR joint monitoring programme for the North Sea was found to best represented by a coordinated network. This is because the coordination role is limited at this ambition level, with the institutions sharing resources. The participating institutions are still working apart on the relevant tasks, although there is typically a division of tasks

Create a message that sticks
A joint monitoring programme needs the support from responsible national authorities and international organisations. JOMOPANS has been able to increase support through one central message that sticks with those authorities/organisations. This message was created around the main goal of the joint monitoring programme. That is: to produce one (set of) common map(s) of ambient noise—without ‘seams’ caused by combining the results of different national monitoring programmes. This message emphasises that the maps will show no discontinuities along national boundaries.
Embed the organisation into existing structures
The MSFD obliges EU member states to take a regional approach to monitoring. This comes with an explicit coordinating role for the existing regional marine conventions, such as OSPAR. In recognition of this role for OSPAR, JOMOPANS has proposed that the joint monitoring programme is coordinated by a sub-group under ICG-Noise. This sub-group should develop and co-ordinate the ambient noise monitoring for the North Sea and assist ICG-Noise in developing ambient noise monitoring over the whole OSPAR Area. It should also report every year about the progress of the programme to ICG-Noise, who in turn report to EIHA. The EIHA Committee acts as the main decision making body of the OSPAR Joint Monitoring Programmes.

Avoid budgetary and legal commitments
Next to the organisational aspect, the budgetary and legal aspects are of key concern for the implementation of joint monitoring. ICG-Noise does not have its own budget, meaning that any task to be subcontracted is currently volunteered by one of the contracting parties. This way of working will also be adopted for ambient noise monitoring in the North Sea. An important principle is that the programme can be implemented without budgets being transferred between countries. This implies that each country will perform one or more tasks of the programme, such that the costs are (approximately) spread evenly. The Implementation Plan outlines all the tasks within the programme, based on the assessment framework for ambient noise. It differentiates between national tasks (like measurements) and shared tasks (like modelling), with a note that shared tasks don’t need to be financed centrally. The JOMOPANS project will propose a scheme to distribute the tasks among the nations, to be decided upon by EIHA. In this scheme, each nation has a responsibility for the measurements at sea and that one or more nations will contract out the shared activities needed for the modelling part of the monitoring. The Implementation Plan has no legal status, but it accompanies the  OSPAR agreement for a joint monitoring programme in the North Sea. The OSPAR agreement itself is only politically binding, not legally binding.

Include a mid term review
A joint monitoring programme will benefit from a midterm review of progress in relation to the cycles of OSPAR and MSFD. The purpose of the review should be to evaluate whether the programme has succeeded to supply meaningful information to the assessment of the OSPAR and MSFD indicators. It will also help the main decision making body (e.g. EIHA) to make appropriate adaptions for the programme's continuation. This is particularly relevant where the progress might not be on track. The joint monitoring programme for the North Sea will undergo a Mid-term Review after 3 years as well as after each assessment (Quality Status Report or Intermediate Assessment).
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