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Eye on Earth Movement Gains Global Momentum

Call for transformational environmental-data projects receives overwhelming response

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates - Wednesday, September 16th 2015 [ME NewsWire]

Eye on Earth, the global movement aiming to improve access to and the availability of environmental, social and economic data to support informed decision-making for sustainable development, has received an outstanding response to its request for new project proposals. These projects which relate to the collection, provision and usage of environmental-related data could radically change the way the world approaches sustainable development.

Among the 120 projects prepared are proposals for:

    a Global Coastal Carbon Data Archive which would increase the accuracy of and confidence in global estimates of carbon storage, as well as emissions from coastal ecosystems;
    a Fellowship of Conservation Leaders to help developing nations build capacity for this essential skillset among the next generation of leaders;
    strengthening information infrastructure for emergency management and disaster risk reduction; and
    creation of an Open Data Programme specifically for the coastal resilience of island communities so they can monitor and share the status of key sustainability metrics in the protection of species and natural habitats.

The Eye on Earth community, comprising members from government agencies, UN organisations, NGOs, the private sector, academia and civil society from across the globe, has prepared more than 120 project proposals. The new proposals outline transformational concepts to advance the eight Eye on Earth Special Initiatives (SIs). For the past four years these SIs have been delivering breakthroughs in the areas of equal access, environmental education, linking knowledge networks, biodiversity, community sustainability and resiliency, disaster management, oceans and blue carbon and water security.

With the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)—the shared framework for global action and cooperation on development for the next 15 years—set to be approved by the United Nations in September, all projects seek to deliver on several of the 17 SDGs. Particular emphasis is placed on Goal 11 (“make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable”), Goal 13 (“take urgent action to combat climate change and its impact”), Goal 14 (“conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development”), Goal 15 (“protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss”), and Goal 17 (“strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development”).

“We have been overwhelmed by the number and quality of project submissions received. This sends a strong message of conviction in the Eye on Earth process and the important role it plays in connecting networks and building capacity across diverse knowledge communities to improve decision-making for sustainable development,” said HE Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak, Secretary General Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi, and founding Eye on Earth Alliance Partner.

The Eye on Earth project concepts are wide-ranging; from building capacity and skillsets that integrate existing environmental information networks and encourage open data policies, to capturing vital metrics on the state of terrestrial and marine ecosystems that could help stave off disastrous environmental consequences and provide critical information to improve emergency management.

Many of the projects also focus on improving the environmental data landscape in developing regions where governments and organisations are at a severe disadvantage when attempting to integrate this information into their climate mitigation and conservation strategies. Latin America and the Caribbean, the Arab region, Africa and the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) are some of the regions identified as needing urgent attention and support.

The new project concepts, which are now seeking funding, will be presented during the Eye on Earth Summit from 6-8 October in Abu Dhabi. Project authors will be present to meet with potential donors, development agencies and investors.

Achim Steiner, Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme, said, “To ensure a future of sustainability and equity for our planet, we must be able to make informed choices and decisions, be they in business, government or as individual citizens. But informed choices cannot be made without the support of robust, accurate and comprehensive data. These Eye on Earth project concepts, once funded and implemented, can provide much-needed capacity and infrastructure for data collection, storage, analysis and dissemination. There is no question that a prosperous future is a sustainable one. The projects can help us realize it.”

More information about the Eye on Earth Summit, speakers and new project proposals can be found at



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

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

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

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

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

About UNEP

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

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


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