'Eye on Earth' Summit Planned in Abu Dhabi

News Announced at 11th Special Session of UNEP Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum (GC/GMEF)

Bali, 25 February 2010 - As policy-makers continue to address global environmental issues from climate change to biodiversity loss, from land degradation to water pollution, a multi-partner initiative is calling upon all major players in the international environmental arena to bridge the global environmental knowledge gap.

A cooperative and systematic approach through a broad network which builds capacity and takes advantage of cutting edge information and communication technologies will achieve the immediate objective of providing quality and timely information to decision makers.

Addressing this and other similar challenges requires a global perspective, coordinated intervention and a common basis for sharing knowledge and information, upon which well informed decisions and policies can be built.

Many initiatives are already under way, reflecting a diversity of objectives and approaches. The challenge is to strengthen and accelerate multilateral cooperation, bringing together governments, donors, United Nations agencies, international and regional organisations, the science community, NGOs and the private sector.

Building on the success of the Abu Dhabi Global Environmental Data Initiative (AGEDI) which was launched by the United Arab Emirates, in collaboration with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg in 2002, Abu Dhabi is now calling for an 'Eye on Earth' Global Summit to take such action forward.

Speaking at the 11th Special Session of UNEP Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environmental Forum in Bali, Mr. Majid Al-Mansouri, Secretary General of the Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi (EAD), announced that EAD would be hosting this Summit in Abu Dhabi on December 12-15, 2011.

"We must continue to keep an eye on Planet Earth", he added. Environmental degradation and change, not only climate change, continues at an unprecedented rate to adversely affect the planet and inhibit sustainable development. The need to continue monitoring environmental change at all levels and to provide information for decision-making must be a top priority for the international community.

Supporting the Abu Dhabi initiative, UNEP Executive Director, Achim Steiner, added "Keeping the global environmental situation under review and bridging the environmental knowledge gap is a core mandate for UNEP. Assessment and reporting on the environment must be focused, coherent and continuous work. Fostering multilateral cooperation among environmental systems and networks is fundamental in order to put effective institutional arrangements in place to deliver the data and information needed by decision-makers."

The Summit to be organized in partnership with UNEP, the European Environment Agency and others, will involve participation of high-level policy-makers, decision-makers and technical specialists from the international community, as well as governmental and non-governmental sectors with the aim of setting in motion a global process that will:

  • Strengthen, synergise, and extend a global process to provide quality and timely information for decision-making on a common platform

  • Reinforce multilateral policies and institutional arrangements to interlink environmental information systems and networks

  • Support technical cooperation to accelerate the building of an integrated global environmental information infrastructure

  • Accelerate capacity building and technology support programmes around the world to further close the gap between developed and developing nations

  • Establish a global fund to support developing countries.

The Abu Dhabi Government, together with its partners, invites UN agencies, Governments, Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs), the private sector and other major players in the international environmental arena to support the initiative, and work together towards bridging the global environmental knowledge gap.

For more information please contact:

Peter Gilruth, Director, Division of Early Warning and Assessment, United Nations Environment Programme, P.O. Box 30552 ? 00100, Nairobi, Kenya, Tel: (254-20) 7623231, Fax: 254-20-7623943, E-mail: peter.gilruth@unep.org

Majid Al Mansouri, Secretary General, Environment Agency Abu Dhabi, P.O. Box 45553, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Tel: +971 2 693 4567, Fax: +971 2 446 4797, E-mail: EoE@ead.ae


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