Geneva, 14 June 2011 - A new initiative is set to improve the sharing of information relating to over a dozen international agreements that protect the environment. The Multilateral Environmental Agreements Information and Knowledge Management Initiative aims to assist Parties to Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs), and the environment community at large, to access MEA information from one central location.
Supported by UNEP, the initiative currently includes 17 MEAs from 12 Secretariats hosted by three UN organizations and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). It is open to observers involved in MEA information and data management.
The first project - InforMEA, the United Nations Information Portal on Multilateral Environmental Agreements - was launched on 14 June during the initiative's 2nd Steering Committee Meeting, attended by Ms. Maria Louisa Silva, Executive Secretary of the Barcelona Convention, Mr. John Scanlon, Secretary General of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), and Mr. Jim Willis, Executive Secretary of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions.
"With the launch of InforMEA the global environmental community has taken a major stride forward in making access to information more transparent and easier to apply in solving the complex challenges we face in the Information Age", said Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary*-General and Executive Director, of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
The InforMEA Portal presents Conference of the Parties decisions and resolutions, news, calendars, events, country specific MEA Membership, national focal points and, in the near future, national reports and implementation plans organized against a set of 200 hierarchical terms taken from MEA Conference of the Parties (COP) Agendas.
The project harvests and displays information directly from MEA Secretariat websites and databases, who remain the custodians of their data. This allows for accurate and timely data availability in a cost effective manner. MEA secretariats individually implement the technical solution identified.
Harmonization of information standards and formats will facilitate the development of many other knowledge tools among conventions. For example, the Convention on Migratory Species and CITES could display the species listed on their respective appendices or the Stockholm Convention may feature decisions related to endangered migratory species threatened by POPs. Once such an application is developed, the tool is maintained at minimal cost.
The InforMEA website can be visited at: www.informea.org
For more information please contact: Marcos Silva (CITES) and firstname.lastname@example.org, and Eva Duer (UNEP) email@example.com,