Summit agenda highlights crucial role of data in securing the future of the planet
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates - Tuesday, August 25th 2015 [ME NewsWire]
Some of the world’s most respected leaders in sustainable development are confirmed to speak at the second Eye on Earth Summit, taking place from 6 to 8 October in Abu Dhabi. Held under the patronage of The President HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Summit will explore the critical need for better access to and sharing of environmental, social and economic data to support informed decision-making for sustainable development.
With the post-2015 development agenda firmly positioning sustainability at the fore of global priorities this year and beyond, Eye on Earth Summit 2015 will cast a spotlight on the role governments, technology, the scientific community and citizen participation play in enhancing access to quality data about the state of the world’s resource s. Close to 30 sessions will be delivered by more than 100 speakers across the three-day Summit. Speakers will explore the supply and demand dynamics, enabling conditions, and crucial role of data and information in creating a healthier planet.
2015 will mark a turning point for sustainable development, poverty eradication and the protection of the planet with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and a new global climate change agreement likely to be enacted by the end of the year.
“The events of 2015 make the work of Eye on Earth more important than ever as we come together – governments, the private sector, academia and civil society – to improve information availability and quality to safeguard the future of the planet and humanity. At Summit 2015 we hope to agree the roadmap that will get us there,” said HE Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak, Secretary General Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi, a founding Eye on Earth Alliance Partner.
The Eye on Earth Summit will open with a focus on policy maker demand for environmental-related data and the associated challenges in using it to make evidence-based decisions. Led by Achim Steiner, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and Undersecretary General of the UN, issues such as inconsistent data sharing mechanisms across countries and regions, institutional attitudes to open-source data policies and responding to commercial imperatives from the private sector, are some of the topics that will be discussed. The need for data to address the Syrian refugee crisis will be another critical agenda item.
Felix Dodds, Senior Fellow at the Global Research Institute of the University of North Carolina and an Associate Fellow at the Tellus Institute; Jonathan Kent Deal, CEO of Treasure Karoo Action Group (TKAG) and winner of the Goldman Environmental Prize, considered the green equivalent of the Nobel prize; and Dr. Fernando R. Echavarria from the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Oceans, Environment and Science (OES), will be among the esteemed guest speakers discussing these issues.
Barbara Ryan, Secretariat Director of the Group on Earth Observations will open day two of the Summit, looking at the problems impeding the availability of and access to environmental-related data. She will be joined by Muki Haklay, Professor of Geographic Information Science at University College London (UCL) and director of its Extreme Citizen Science group; Louis Liebenberg, Executive Director of CyberTracker Conservation NPC and an Associate of Human Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University; and Ed Parsons, the Geospatial Technologist of Google responsible for evangelising Google’s mission to organise the world’s information using geography.
Looking in detail at the logarithmic data explosion, both in terms of volume and sources, day two of the Summit will explore the undiscovered potential of new resources, such as crowd sourcing, citizen science and cutting-edge technologies to engage many more actors in the world’s transition to a sustainable future.
The Summit will conclude on day three with a focus on the necessary conditions to support effective synergies between data users and data providers. Policy arenas, funding commitments and capacity building are some of the topics that will be discussed. Inger Anderson, Director General of IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) will deliver day three’s opening address. She will be joined by as well as Enrico Giovannini, the distinguished Italian economist and statistician.
“The Eye on Earth network is just getting started, but it could substantially alter the course of sustainable development for generations to come. Its potential impact has been likened to the equivalent of the Human Genome Revolution. That’s how important and valuable environmental-related data could become. The cooperation between stakeholders in government, academic, civil society and the private sector remains the most important element in Eye on Earth’s success. Everyone can, and should, lend their support to this endeavour,” said UN Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner.
On a macro level, a successful Eye on Earth Summit and growing international movement could mean the slowing down of natural resource depletion and an increased adoption of greener economies. It could ensure responsible urban policies and education for the improved management of urban growth, as well as the advancement of knowledge and innovation to guide all countries towards a promising and sustainable future. On a micro level, it is hoped the Summit will provide the tools and opportunities necessary for stakeholders to foster partnerships to support informed decision-making and continue collaborating long after the Summit. Increased funding will also allow community-run Special Initiative programmes to assist in the achievement of SDGs and other global environmental goals.
“We have a shared responsibility, globally, to address the topic of sustainability in the face of continuing population growth. By understanding how we access, use and support environmental-related data, we will strengthen our capabilities to develop environmental policies and regulations, ensure appropriate enforcement and enhance sustainable development,” said Mr. Steiner.
Live social media feeds will allow the wider global community to tune in to the Summit and initiate dialogue with attendees. The full Summit agenda and list of speakers can be found at www.eoesummit.org.
NOTES TO EDITORS
About Eye on Earth
Eye on Earth is a global movement that aims to improve access to and sharing of environmental, social and economic data, to better inform decision-making for sustainable development. The mission of Eye on Earth is achieved through the work of the five governing Alliance Partners, eight targeted Special Initiatives, and the Eye on Earth Summit.
For more information, please visit www.eoesummit.org.
About the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD)
Established in 1996, the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD) is committed to protecting and enhancing air quality, groundwater as well as the biodiversity of our desert and marine ecosystem. For more information, visit www.ead.ae
About the Abu Dhabi Global Environmental Data Initiative (AGEDI)
Under the guidance and patronage of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates, AGEDI was formed in 2002 to address responses to the critical need for readily accessible, accurate environmental data and information for all those who need it. For more information, visit www.AGEDI.ae
About the Group on Earth Observations (GEO)
Established in 2005, GEO strives to improve the world’s observation systems and provide policy makers and scientists with accurate and useful data that can be used to make informed decisions on issues affecting the planet. For more information, visit www.earthobservations.org
About the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
IUCN is the world’s oldest and largest global environmental organization, with more than 1,200 government and NGO Members and almost 11,000 volunteer experts in some 160 countries. IUCN’s work is supported by over 1,000 staff in 45 offices and hundreds of partners in public, NGO and private sectors around the world. For more information, please visit www.iucn.org.
UNEP is the voice for the environment in the UN system. Established in 1972, UNEP's mission is to provide leadership and encourage partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing, and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations. For more information, visit www.unep.org
About the World Resources Institute (WRI)
WRI is a global research organization that turns big ideas into action at the nexus of environment, economic opportunity and human well-being. Our 450 experts and staff work with partners in more than 50 countries; we have offices in Brazil, China, Europe, India, Indonesia and the United States. For more information, visit http://www.wri.org
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