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UNEP Promotes Scientific Knowledge to the Developing World

Nairobi, 24 December- The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) this month pushed ahead to promote its Online Access to Research in the Environment (OARE) programme in the Republic of Yemen, offering the chance for the country's science community to gain greater access to leading scientific journals.

UNEP and Yemen's Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) and Ministry of Water and Environment worked together this month with the World Health Organization (WHO) to train 30 Yemeni researchers, scientists, planers, and lecturers about the use of OARE. The training, which took place in the capital of Sana'a, was one of UNEP's efforts to support the country as it faces increasing environmental challenges as a result of climate change, food crisis, and water scarcity.

"We are confident that this model of collaboration between UN organizations in supporting our institutions in Yemen for accessing scientific information and building capacity will lead to successful outcomes," said Mahmoud Mohamed Shidiwah, Chairman of Yemen's Environmental Protection Agency.

Yemen's economy depends largely on the oil and fishing industries. Even though recent reports show a 25 percent increase in fish product exports and a 30 percent increase in fish volume, according to a recent World Bank report, the country is facing an alarming decline in fish stock and production in some areas.

"We need to do much more to get to a climate-smart world," said Katherine Sierra, Vice-President for Sustainable Development at the World Bank.

"On the energy front, we must tackle difficult issues like technology transfer, investment, and climate finance. But when it comes to adaptation and building climate resilience, the challenge is more complex and the role of knowledge will be key," she added.

Yemen is one of 108 developing countries which now has free access to the latest in scientific literature through the OARE programme. So far, more than 1,600 institutions are registered with OARE to use the wide collection of scientific research and the increasing number of scientific databases and portals.

OARE's expanding role in the developing world comes at a time when the world is focusing on knowledge and technology transfer in efforts to promote more sustainable development. Access to the latest findings in environmental science will aid the developing countries in their efforts to adapt to an increasingly changing environment.

In November, a similar workshop was organized in Amman, Jordan, where 35 participants from Jordan and Iraq were trained on OARE. Other trainings are scheduled to take place in Tunisia, Morocco and Afghanistan in early 2010.

The crucial transfer of scientific information to the developing world began two years ago when UNEP negotiated a deal with the leading publishers to build one of the largest electronic collections of scientific knowledge in environmental and related areas. UNEP established a partnership with WHO, FAO, Yale and Cornell universities, international publishers and private sector groups like Microsoft. The result was a collection that is available online and contains more than 2,900 scientific and peer-reviewed journals with a value of around US$1.5 million a year.

OARE joins other programmes in the fields of health (HINARI) and agriculture (AGORA) to expand the availability of information resources. Yemen and 107 other developing countries and more than 1,600 institutions have free access to the OARE programme.

As climate change and resource degradation continue to hurt the more vulnerable developing countries, UNEP is joining the effort to facilitate much needed science and technology transfer from the developed countries to the developing world. Access to the OARE and other scientific journals will allow these scientists to help their countries in climate change adaptation and mitigation work as well as address other environmental challenges.

For more information on the Online Access to Research in the Environment (OARE), please contact:

Mohamed Atani, Mohamed.atani@unep.org




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