The Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme hosted a South-South Exchange for environment data officers from Papua New Guinea and Samoa as part of the Inform Project.
Papua New Guinea launched its national data sharing policy and data portal.
26 April 2019: A South-South Exchange on environment data for decision making, hosted by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), highlighted experiences and challenges in the management of environment data, development of environment data sharing policies and repository systems, and promoting data accessibility.
According to SPREP, in Pacific island nations, environment data are often dispersed and stored on personal computers, which leads to access issues and challenges in environmental monitoring and reporting in the region.
The Exchange brought together environment data officers from the Governments of Samoa and Papua New Guinea (PNG) under the Inform Project, executed in 14 Pacific island countries, which seeks to help Pacific islands ensure reliable access to their national environment datasets and safe storage of environment data to be used for monitoring, evaluation and analysis of environmental conditions and trends to support environmental planning, forecasting and reporting at all levels. The event took place at SPREP from 1-5 April 2019.
Keeping data in a centralized database and having a control over it is of real value.
Supported by the Inform Project through, inter alia, data management training, PNG officially launched its national data sharing policy and data portal, managed by the Conservation and Environment Protection Authority (CEPA), on 26 April 2019. Speaking at the Exchange, Biatus Bito, National Inform Project Coordinator for PNG, highlighted the role of data ownership and stakeholder engagement in improving data sharing. “Keeping data in a centralized database and having a control over it is of real value,” he said.
In Samoa, the environment data portal is managed by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MNRE). Reflecting on data sharing arrangements in her country, Fiapaipai Sakuma, MNRE, highlighted the value of a “sector-wide approach” in promoting data sharing among government agencies and the private sector in Samoa.
Samoa and PNG are two of the 14 countries developing national data portals under the Inform Project. The Inform Project is funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and implemented by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). It is executed by SPREP in the Cook Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), Fiji, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Palau, PNG, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.
According to SPREP, the main objective of country and regional data portals is to increase the information available to decision makers and to assist with Multilateral Environmental Agreement (MEA) reporting and tracking the SDGs related to the environment sectors like solid waste, protected areas and CO2 emissions, including SDG 13 (climate action) and SDG targets 11.6 on reducing the adverse environmental impact of cities, including through air quality and municipal and other waste management, 14.5 on coastal and marine area conservation and 15.2 on sustainable forest management (SFM). [SPREP Press Release on Open Data for Environmental Information] [SPREP Press Release on PNG Data Portal Launch] [PNG Inform Data Portal] [Samoa Inform Data Portal] [SPREP Inform Data Website] [SDG Knowledge Hub Story on Launch of Data Portal for Asia-Pacific] [SDG Knowledge Hub Story on Environment Data Portal Launch in Tuvalu]