Global initiative for sharing information takes off at Eye on Earth Summit
The Abu Dhabi Summit was an enormous success. The launch of the Eye on Earth global public information service and network demonstrated how important sharing information will be in the future. We are now actively working with governments, industry and citizens to build an ever-more comprehensive and accurate picture of our world. We will continue to take this forward at the UN sustainable development summit in Rio next year.
EEA Executive Director Jacqueline McGlade
The EEA has already uploaded hundreds of theme-specific map and data viewers into the service. Examples of other data contributors include UNEP and the US, providing datasets on diverse topics such as streets, mountains, water quality, watersheds and eco-regions. During the Summit, both UNEP and the US announced their continued support and use of the service in the future.
At the end of the four-day summit, a declaration was signed which will lead to increased sharing of economic, environmental and social information. It was supported by numerous global, national and non-governmental organisations.
The declaration will feed into the global United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development to be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in June 2012. Principle 10 of the 1992 Rio Declaration states the importance of public authorities facilitating and encouraging public access to environmental information.
The Summit was dedicated to the critical issue of greater access to open and shared environmental and societal data for enhanced decision making. It brought together the global leadership of the environmental information movement, a group dedicated to bringing the benefits of better information to people and decision-makers around the planet.
“The Abu Dhabi Summit was an enormous success,” said EEA Executive Director Jacqueline McGlade. “The launch of the Eye on Earth global public information service and network demonstrated how important sharing information will be in the future. We are now actively working with governments, industry and citizens to build an ever-more comprehensive and accurate picture of our world. We will take this forward at the UN sustainable development summit in Rio next year.”
Noteworthy speakers included Achim Steiner, Executive Director of the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP), Chief Almir Surui, Leader of the Surui people of the Brazilian Amazon, Rebecca Moore, from Google Outreach, former US President Bill Clinton, Dr. Jane Goodall, UN Messenger of Peace, H.E. Raz Kahlifa Al Mubarrak, Secretary General, Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi and Professor McGlade.
The new version of the Eye on Earth global public information service, showcased by EEA and its partners during the Summit, also received widespread recognition. The service hosts information from a wide variety of sources – from citizens to national and global institutions. It further allows for the integration and sharing of data and information, the creation of new environmental knowledge and networking.
Participants also agreed to create eight ‘Special Initiatives’ in several areas, such as a global network of networks, water security, sustainable communities and biodiversity. The initiatives will be the main vehicles for delivering results through concrete projects and partnerships. The EEA was significantly involved in promoting the ‘Global Network of Networks’ (GNON) initiative. At the end of the meeting, H.E. Raz Kahlifa Al Mubarrak announced a follow-up Summit in Abu Dhabi for 2014 which will take stock of progress made.
Food For Thought: speech by EEA Executive Director Jacqueline McGlade.