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Eye on Earth Symposium 2018: Exploring SDG-related Data Initiatives

Experts fight barriers to accessing information by exploring ongoing Sustainable Development Goals-related Data Initiatives.

Failure to overcome barriers to accessing information, such as lack of coordination among data providers, cost of accessing data sets, and the cost of technology to process and use data, may result in the loss of valuable environmental assets and resources - particularly in emerging economies. Organized by the Environment Agency-Abu Dhabi (EAD) in partnership with the UAE Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Authority and the Eye on Earth Alliance, the Eye on Earth Symposium 2018, which took place from 22-24 October, sought to address these challenges.

The event concluded two weeks ago in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE) where around 600 participants from all around the globe shared their knowledge and gained a better understanding of data collection processes and its uses regarding solutions for pollution and other Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). A wide range of topics was covered; including an update on society’s progress in relation to SDGs, the cataloging of indigenous knowledge, and environmental economic accounting.

In order to effectively contribute to the Eye on Earth Alliance 2030 agenda, as well as facilitate knowledge exchange and networking opportunities, the EoE Symposium 2018 was a combination of presentations, Q&A sessions, panel discussions and interactive workshops under a continuous theme: Data (how much of it we have, how it is portrayed and what we can actually do with it). Discussions focused on catalyzing and strengthening multilateral partnerships, including:

  • Data infrastructure;
  • Capacity development;
  • Access to information;
  • Stakeholder involvement; and
  • Investment decision making

Most sessions explored specific data initiatives, including one focused solely on the “Implementation and Applications of the IUCN Red List of Ecosystems (RLE)”. Veronica Ruiz and Dr. Daisy Hessenberger both from the IUCN Global Ecosystem Management Programme chaired the session, which was an interactive panel and a training workshop for participants, including almost 70 online attendants.

Dr. Jon Paul Rodríguez (IUCN Species Survival Commission Chair), who was there during the conception of RLE as an ecosystem assessment tool, opened the session and presented on how far RLE has come; noting how RLE provides a baseline to support conservation in resource use and management decisions by identifying ecosystems most at risk of biodiversity loss, and also how its capable of working alongside the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (RLTS). This was followed by an update from Prof. David Keith (Lead IUCN RLE Thematic Group) on the Global Ecosystem Typology currently being worked on by the IUCN Commission for Ecosystem Management’s RLE thematic group.

Throughout the presentations, questions and comments were encouraged both from participants in the room and online. The most common questions were “How can I do an RLE assessment of my region/country/lagoon?” and “How can I get involved with RLE?”. Luckily the answer for both of these is quite similar: if you are interested in performing an RLE risk assessment, you can either contact us directly or, use any of the training and tool material RLE places at your disposal through the knowledge product’s official website.  Alternatively, if you are interested in getting involved as a volunteer or to integrate RLE into your academic research, you can apply to the IUCN Commission for Ecosystem Management.

 

 

Written by: Daisy Hessenberger and Clara Gómez

Style and Format: Lila García and Clara Gómez

Provita Nov 08, 2018

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