UNEP GEMS/Water Supports SDG Implementation, Opens Capacity Development Centre in Ireland
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The UN Environment Programme Global Environmental Monitoring System, Water (UNEP GEMS/Water) has opened a global Capacity Development Centre in Ireland, hosted by the University College Cork (UCC).

The Centre will build capacity in developing countries for water quality monitoring and assessment, supported by the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government, Ireland, and Irish Aid.

unep_gems_water27 January 2016: The UN Environment Programme Global Environmental Monitoring System, Water (UNEP GEMS/Water) has opened a global Capacity Development Centre in Ireland, hosted by the University College Cork (UCC). The Centre will build capacity in developing countries for water quality monitoring and assessment, supported by the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government, Ireland, and Irish Aid.

GEMS/Water was previously hosted and supported by Environment Canada. Besides the Capacity Development Centre at UCC, the GEMS/Water Data Centre at the German Federal Institute for Hydrology maintains the global water quality information system, GEMStat.

Deborah Chapman, Director of the GEMS/Water Capacity Development Centre, anticipates that the Centre will make an important contribution to the sustainable management of water resources at the global scale. She envisaged using e-learning technology for offering training and education programmes in monitoring and managing water quality to developing countries.

On its website, the Centre announces its development of a programme of activities that will support the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the associated Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Its projected activities include: conducting training needs assessment and developing a training strategy for water quality monitoring in sub-Saharan Africa; creating capacity development strategies for other world regions, in cooperation with UNEP and its regional offices; developing curriculum and training materials that can be delivered in person as well as online; and starting a “train the trainers” programme.

GEMS/Water seeks to ensure that water quality data used in national, regional and global assessments is comparable worldwide. The first UN Environment Assembly (UNEA), which took place in June 2014, called for strengthening GEMS/Water as a global freshwater monitoring and information system.

A UNEP press release notes that the GEMS/Water data and capacity building network will have a specific focus on countries in Africa, and that the first regional hub for the Latin America and Caribbean region is operational, hosted by Brazil’s national water agency, ANA. [UNEP Press Release] [UCC GEMS/Water Capacity Development Centre Website]

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