United Nations Environment Programme

environment for development

  Systems and Networks
1. Global Environmental Outlook (GEO) network of collaborating centres

A global coordinated network of 34 regional multidisciplinary institutes conducting integrated assessments and forecasts in order to keep under review the state of the regions and world environment and provide scientific guidance to regional and international policy setting and action planning for sustainable development.

See: http://www.unep.org/geo1/collcen.htm;

2. Collaborative Assessment Network (CAN) (Asia and the Pacific region)

To facilitate the implementation of activities, a Collaborative Assessment Network (CAN) was established composed of: policy and inter-government bodies, scientific community, and donors. Providing overall guidance to the network is the Centre Advisory Committee. Countries in the region share common and emerging issues that cut across national boundaries. The Centre, together with the subregional inter-governmental organisations and national agencies, will identify these transboundary issues.

See: http://www.rrcap.unep.org/about/partners.cfm

3. African Environmental Information Network (AEIN) (Africa region)

The Africa Environmental Information Network (AEIN) is a multi-stakeholder capacity building process that aims to harness and enhance access to information and knowledge to support the management of Africa's environmental resources as assets for sustainable development.

See: http://www.unep.org/dewa/africa/aeoprocess/aein/aein.asp

4. Global Resource Information Database (GRID) network.

Global resource information database (GRID) - (1985-present) - GRID is a global network of 15 environmental data centres facilitating the generation and dissemination of key environmental geo-referenced and statistical data-sets and information products, focusing on environmental issues and natural resources. GRID centres typically have the ability, expertise and specialized information technology (environmental data management, remote sensing/Geographic Information Systems) to prepare, analyze and present environmental data and information, which are the basis for reliable environmental assessments. GRID was established in response to UNEP Governing Council decision 16/25.

See: http://www.unep.org/themes/assessment.

5. Global Environmental Information Exchange network (Infoterra)

Infoterra is a global network of 177 national focal points located mainly in environment ministries and environmental agencies, though a small number are located in scientific institutions dealing with the environment. The purpose of the Infoterra network is to facilitate public access to environment information from a national-level perspective. The network is currently undergoing a reform process in response to UNEP Governing Council decision 20/5.

See: http://www.unep.org/infoterra/

6. Global biodiversity knowledge network (Proteus)

UNEPís World Conservation Monitoring Centre (WCMC) in Cambridge, UK is working with private sector partners, for whom access to objective, independent conservation data is of strategic importance, to mobilise and connect networks of data rich organisations. Using the power of the internet, they plan to make high quality conservation information available to everyone in a system called Proteus. Proteus aims to develop a global biodiversity knowledge network. Using the latest technologies it will provide access to the world's major sources of policy relevant data on conservation of the living environment. The data is to be held locally by data owners and access facilitated by UNEP-WCMC 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

See: http://proteus.unep-wcmc.org

7. Global Environmental Monitoring System / Water Programme (GEMS/Water)

The GEMS/Water Programme provides authoritative, scientifically-sound information on the state and trends of global inland water quality required as a basis for the sustainable management of the world's freshwater to support global environmental assessments and decision-making processes. The global GEMS water network consists of national focal points. National focal points (NFPs) are appointed and funded by member countries and are in charge of national cooperation with GEMS/Water and national coordination of activities related to the GEMS/Water programme of work. Collaborating Focal Points play similar roles as do NFPs, although they are institutionally different; CFPs are non-governmental organizations, universities, and other institutes. Full specifications of the roles of GEMS/Water, NFPs and CFPs are provided in the NFP Specifications (PDF) available at: (http://www.gemswater.org/global_network/nfps_specifications.pdf)

See http://www.gemswater.org/global_network;

8. Global International Waters Assessment (GIWA) network

The Global International Waters Assessment (GIWA) network spans 9 mega-regions and 66 regions. Further information is available on the GIWA website.

See: http://www.giwa.net

9. UN System-wide Earthwatch

The United Nations System-wide Earthwatch mechanism is a broad UN initiative to coordinate, harmonize and catalyze environmental observation activities among all UN agencies for integrated assessment purposes. Through Earthwatch, UN agencies work together on global environmental issues, by exchanging and sharing environmental data and information. UNEP provides the Earthwatch secretariat. Earthwatch was established at the 1972 UN Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm and reinforced by the 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro and its Agenda-21 chapter on Information for Decision Making.

See http://earthwatch.unep.ch.
© UNEP 2009