Project Overview

“To develop a risk-based approach to support coordinated regional and sub-regional implementation of the MSFD based on the commission decision on GES by providing
a replicable, transparent and standardised decision processes based on international best practice for risk management

Risk-based Approaches to Good Environmental Status (RAGES) is a two-year project funded by DG Environment to support implementation of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD). The project began in January 2019 and comprises a consortium of partners from Ireland (UCC and DHPLG), France (MTES and INERIS), Spain (DGSCM-SGPM and IEO, UPV) and Portugal (DRAM, DGRM, ARDITI, FCUL, IPMA and SRA-DROTA), these include the competent authorities from each country. A summary of the work packages is provided here.

RAGES focuses on the Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) of Ireland and Portugal and the Atlantic parts of the French and Spanish EEZs. Combined these make up the majority of European territorial waters within the North East Atlantic Region. The study area includes three sub-regions: The Celtic Seas (which are shared between Ireland, UK and France), the Bay of Biscay and Iberian Coasts (shared by France, Spain and Portugal) and Macaronesia (which includes the Portuguese island groups of the Azores and Madeira, as well as the Spanish Canary Islands).

Risk Management

Uncertainty is an integral part of managing environmental systems and management in the face of uncertainty is a foundational concept in the application of adaptive or ecosystem-based management. In many cases the response of a specific system to a management action may not be the intended one, under such uncertainty adaptive management or “learning by doing" is required. By combining the learning, outputs and tools from major EU research projects (e.g. KnowSeas, ODEMM, DEVOTES) RAGES will work with the competent authorities to use international best practice in risk managment (ISO 30000, ISO3010) and work toward commom approaches for second cycle of MSFD implementation.


RAGES partners at the first steering committee meeting at the offices of IPMA in Lisbon.

RAGES will develop a conceptual frame for incorporation of risk-based approaches into the MSFD. The risk-based approach will be applied at a sub-regional scale to the analysis of Alien Invasive Species (Descriptor 2 of the MSFD) as well as to energy and noise (Descriptor 11). The findings and best practices will be used to recommend targets for these descriptors as well as to develop a transferrable Standard Operating Procedure.

The RAGES project commenced in January 2019 and runs for two years until Dec 2021.