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AEIN Objectives and Outputs

AEIN Overall Objectives

AEIN is conceived as an intergrated framwork programme to strengthen institutional capacities in managing and using information related to sustainable development. There are two sets of objectives. The first set addresses specific capacity building needs in Africa for the effective implementation of national, sub-regional, regional and global assessment and reporting processes:
  • Strengthen capacity at the national level for managing and using information on environmental assets in such a manner as to emphasise opportunities for sustainable economic exploitation;
  • Strengthen capacity for regular integrated environmental assessments and the production of national SOE reports, thematic sub-regional environmental reports, and provide inputs for production of the AEO and Global Environment Outlook (GEO) report series; and
  • Strengthen the information base and infrastructure to enhance country negotiation status with respect to its assets within the context of multi-lateral environmental conventions, and reporting on the various conventions that African countries have acceded to;
  • Facilitate access to environmental information to enhance public participation and transparency in environmental governance.

The second set of objectives deals with broader issues relating to the development and exchange of the essential data and information for sustainable development activities:
  • Support the development and maintenance of a comprehensive and harmonised national data foundation and related infrastructure for sustainable development; and
  • Provide substantive information to assist the implementation of decisions and medium-term programmes of AMCEN, NEPAD, the Millennium Development Goals, as well as the Johannesburg Declaration on Sustainable Development.

Fully implemented AEIN will enable environmental and development planning institutions in Africa to participate in a fully operational network for information exchange. AEIN will cultivate partnerships with the many ongoing initiatives in information management in Africa, building upon and complementing these initiatives, finding ways for creating synergy, and extending the benefits of the various initiatives to African countries. It will work with various partners to establish a coordination framework which enhances accessibility to information.

AEIN Expected Outputs

Expected outputs include the following:

Networking framework and data infrastructure

  • Strengthened national and sub-regional frameworks for information management
  • Shared national (environmental) data stores and information repositories
  • Enhanced (online) access to data and information
  • Enhanced communication network infrastructure
  • Proficiency of key personnel in the use of information management and communication technologies
  • Improved skills in integrated environmental assessments (IEA) and state of environment (SOE) reporting using GEO IEA tools
  • Improved skills in environmental policy analysis and Early Warning
Institutional capacity building
  • Institutional strengthening in multi-sectoral data and information management
  • Strengthening of existing regional networks of training centres
  • Provision of ICT resources and implementation of resource information management and dissemination tools
  • Implementation of internet-based processes and mechanisms
  • Development of tools for, and applications on early warning at national and sub-regional levels
Information products and services, including
  • Environmental policy briefs to enhance effective environmental governance
  • National and sub-regional environment outlook reports
  • AEO Reports produced regularly for the AMCEN sessions to guide policy decisions
  • Early Warning bulletins at sub-regional levels
  • Indicator-based environment and development reports
  • Metadata bulletins and information catalogues
  • Executive seminars to engage decision-makers and policy formulators
  • Support for reporting to international conventions and processes
  • Inputs for regional and global assessments
  • Web-based information "kiosks".
Objectives for Phase 1

The first phase of implementation (2003 - 2004) is essentially a proof of concept, focusing on the "core mandate" as contained in AMCEN's Kampala Declaration in respect of the establishment of AEIN. In this regard the thrust of implementation within UNEP will be on integrated environmental assessment and reporting, leading to the production of AEO-2.

One basic assumption regarding the phasing of AEIN implementation is that some elements of the programme may already be in place in several countries. On this basis the implementation strategy for Phase 1 assumes that some data exists in some form, somewhere. The focus of activities therefore is to test this assumption, whiles implementing various pilot activities with respect to networking, establishment of mechanisms for harmonising information, development of core data sets, prototype products and information services, and appropriate tools and methodologies to support AEIN activities.

Key issues to be addressed include:

  • What are the issues relating to core data sets that need to be addressed?
  • What organisational and institutional framework would be appropriate to deal with the coordination and implementations processes?
  • What capacity would be required, and how would capacity needs be met?
The immediate goals for Phase 1 implementation are:

a) To build capacity for the development and management of core datasets for integrated environmental assessments and reporting at the national level;

b) To support and catalyse institutional networking and capacities related to the management of data and information at the sub-national, national, sub-regional, and regional levels.

Specific objectives will be:
  • To assess the status of environmental information networking activities in respective African countries;
  • To strengthen networking (data/information exchanges, knowledge/expertise sharing, etc.) at the national and sub-regional levels;
  • To develop information management tools, collate data, and develop compendia and other data products from existing data sources;
  • To develop quantitative indicators of environmental change for use in characterising emerging issues, and for assessing impacts of such changes on human vulnerability at national and sub-regional levels;
  • To build capacity for using information management tools and methodologies for producing or (re-)packaging information for various target groups.
Expected Outputs
The principal outputs expected from Phase 1 will be: