Eye on Earth Movement gains global momentum

Eye on Earth, the global movement aiming to improve access to and the availability of environmental, social and economic data to support informed decision-making for sustainable development, has received an outstanding response to its request for new project proposals. These projects which relate to the collection, provision and usage of environmental-related data could radically change the way the world approaches sustainable development.

Among the 120 projects prepared are proposals for:

  • a Global Coastal Carbon Data Archive which would increase the accuracy of and confidence in global estimates of carbon storage, as well as emissions from coastal ecosystems;

  • a Fellowship of Conservation Leaders to help developing nations build capacity for this essential skillset among the next generation of leaders;

  • strengthening information infrastructure for emergency management and disaster risk reduction; and

  • creation of an Open Data Programme specifically for the coastal resilience of island communities so they can monitor and share the status of key sustainability metrics in the protection of species and natural habitats.

The Eye on Earth community, comprising members from government agencies, UN organisations, NGOs, the private sector, academia and civil society from across the globe, has prepared more than 120 project proposals. The new proposals outline transformational concepts to advance the eight Eye on Earth Special Initiatives (SIs). For the past four years these SIs have been delivering breakthroughs in the areas of equal access, environmental education, linking knowledge networks, biodiversity, community sustainability and resiliency, disaster management, oceans and blue carbon and water security.

With the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)—the shared framework for global action and cooperation on development for the next 15 years—set to be approved by the United Nations in September, all projects seek to deliver on several of the 17 SDGs. Particular emphasis is placed on Goal 11 (“make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable”), Goal 13 (“take urgent action to combat climate change and its impact”), Goal 14 (“conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development”), Goal 15 (“protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss”), and Goal 17 (“strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development”).

“We have been overwhelmed by the number and quality of project submissions received. This sends a strong message of conviction in the Eye on Earth process and the important role it plays in connecting networks and building capacity across diverse knowledge communities to improve decision-making for sustainable development,” said HE Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak, Secretary General Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi, and founding Eye on Earth Alliance Partner.

The Eye on Earth project concepts are wide-ranging; from building capacity and skillsets that integrate existing environmental information networks and encourage open data policies, to capturing vital metrics on the state of terrestrial and marine ecosystems that could help stave off disastrous environmental consequences and provide critical information to improve emergency management.

Many of the projects also focus on improving the environmental data landscape in developing regions where governments and organisations are at a severe disadvantage when attempting to integrate this information into their climate mitigation and conservation strategies. Latin America and the Caribbean, the Arab region, Africa and the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) are some of the regions identified as needing urgent attention and support.

Several of the new project concepts, which are now seeking funding, will be presented during the Eye on Earth Summit from 6-8 October in Abu Dhabi. Project authors will be present to meet with potential donors, development agencies and investors.

Achim Steiner, Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme, said, “To ensure a future of sustainability and equity for our planet, we must be able to make informed choices and decisions, be they in business, government or as individual citizens. But informed choices cannot be made without the support of robust, accurate and comprehensive data. These Eye on Earth project concepts, once funded and implemented, can provide much-needed capacity and infrastructure for data collection, storage, analysis and dissemination. There is no question that a prosperous future is a sustainable one. The projects can help us realize it.”

More information about the Eye on Earth Summit, speakers and new project proposals can be found atwww.eoesummit.org.

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